It was going to be a great dinner.
In a culinary preamble, I ran the palm of my hands against the cool granite countertop, letting my fingers glide off the rounded edge. All my ingredients were assembled before me.
At the time, we lived in Massapequa. The sun streamed in through the window above the sink, brightening the kitchen of our home with a summer shimmer. I reached up and grabbed a bowl from the cabinet. Perfect size, I thought.
Three pounds of ground sirloin lay before me, along with a carton of eggs, parsley, bread crumbs, an onion and a few cloves of garlic. I pulled a thick cutting block toward me from its position by the wall.
Placing an onion on the block, I picked up a knife and gave the onion a chop, or at least I tried to. The blade wouldn't cut it. I threw the knife into the sink and fumbled for another in the utensil drawer. I took out a sharp steel knife. Starting at the onion's edge, I sliced into it. After about five more slices, I began to dice.
This is when the trouble began. One of the dices included a small piece of my left index finger, about the size of a staple.
Blood dripped from my finger onto the cutting board, onto the onion and onto the countertop. I ran to the sink, put on the faucet, and let the cool water run over my cut until the water ran clear. I patted my finger dry with a paper towel, took a Band-Aid from a drawer and wrapped it tightly around my finger. I bleached a rag and cleaned up everything.
Then I started the preparation all over again, this time managing to keep my digits intact.
In the large bowl, I pummeled the sirloin, bread crumbs and other ingredients into a homogeneous blob. Cupping the palms of my hands, I created 25 meatballs. Looking at the clock, I realized I'd have just enough time to fry them before the guests arrived. I would put on the pot for the angel hair pasta when they came.
Luckily, my husband, Louie, had made the sauce earlier. Before going out to tend to the garden, he had taken the pot of sauce out of the fridge and placed it on the stove. I just needed to turn on the flame. So I did.
I reached up to the pot rack to grab a frying pan when I noticed the Band-Aid was no longer on my finger.
My eyes darted about. I scanned all of the kitchen surfaces.
Then, I looked at the huge plate of meatballs. Frantically, I began poking my finger into each one. One finger increased to two until all 10 digits began probing and dissecting the perfect little globes, returning them to the homogeneous blob. The Band-Aid could not be found.
My hands were covered in meatball mixture when I smelled the burning sauce. I ran and turned it off, getting meatball goo all over the knob. The sauce was ruined.
My husband walked in from the garden and saw the look on my face.
"What's wrong?" he asked.
The doorbell rang as I finished my explanation.
He opened the door and told our friends, "We're having a pizza party."
Reader Jackie Minghinelli lives in Halesite.