ERROL CASTENS: Cooking ADD-venturously



Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD) and innovation go together – but not always intentionally.

Take once when my cousin Leonard and his daughter, Susan, called to ask if it was a good time to visit. It was, but since my wife, Sue, was not yet home, it was up to me to put together a hospitable supper.

Any multitasking endeavor is a challenge in my world. Being an easily distracted sort of person, the “Oh, look – a squirrel!” stereotype is just one cog in the wheel of my stream of consciousness.

Say, for instance, I’m working diligently on a news article about city street work. The process may go like this:

• Pick up phone to call city engineer for who, what, when, where, why and how much.

• In contacts list, see someone else I need to interview.

• Call that person to make appointment.

• He’s not in, so rather than play telephone tag, send an email.

• In sending email, check inbox. Read arrest report.

• Call investigator for details on felony arrest. Leave voice mail.

• See Facebook notification. Open post and read. Like and respond. Clarify response.

• Answer phone call from investigator. Get details on arrest.

• See Facebook notification. Post witty retort to response to response. Close Facebook.

• Send email about arrest to online editor.

• Log on to office system. List articles in process for editors. Log off.

• Make call on yet another story. Reach subject. Schedule interview.

• Hear phone alarm. Check calendar. Drive to meeting.

• En route, drive down street being readied for repair.

• Make mental note to call city engineer for who, what, when, where, why and how much.

The scenario is only that short if I don’t need a cup of coffee, notice an unfamiliar scrawled phone number on my scratch pad and call it to see if I missed anything important, or remember that I need to replace a headlight on my truck before I go to the next appointment.

So when company comes, and I start to prepare a salad, a vegetable, a bread, an entrée and a dessert, you can imagine how not everything goes according to plan.

With Leonard’s and Susan’s visit, though, by the time Sue got home each dish was well underway, and I even managed to converse cheerfully and coherently while I culinated. Most courses proved identifiable, tasty and even well-received, but when I served the peach cobbler, the crust looked a little odd. It chewed oddly, too – grainy and thick. Leonard and Susan smiled and kept eating, but Sue nearly choked.

Turns out in my hurry I’d grabbed cornmeal instead of flour to make the crust.

It wasn’t just a comestible failure but a moral one as well: After a lifetime of ridiculing people who sweeten their cornbread, I’d cornbreaded my sweets.

Moral? Beware ADDed ingredients.

Errol Castens is a news writer for the Daily Journal and the Oxford Citizen. Contact him at (662) 816-1282or

  • Carol

    Enjoyed this. Thanks.