January 18th, 2015

Cooking Indian food and messing up

Setting: 23rd century, Earth (Star Trek reboot universe)
Summary: Character A (who has zero experience with cooking or making food from scratch, including even "I saw my parents do this") wants to cook a nice dinner for his love interest and proceeds to completely mess up the whole thing.
Previous research: Indian food recipes, forum posts on kitchen disasters/mistakes, personal experience

The menu I've settled on includes:
- chickpea soup (400 g canned chickpeas, 2 shallots, 2 peeled tomatoes, 200 g. basmati rice, 1 lime, parsley, curry, olive oil, salt)
- chicken curry (2 cloves of garlic, 2 onions, 2 apples, 3 tomatoes, 2 carrots, 1 green bell pepper, 2 zucchini, vegetable broth, 800 g. chicken breast, olive oil, salt, pepper)

Now, how could an inexperienced cook mess it up even when trying to follow the recipe? (Not that it would matter, I've noticed some recipes do not include obvious steps)

All I've come up with is:
chickpea soup: use dried chickpeas (as they are, without letting them rest in water for the requisite 12 hours), overcooking the rice (any idea on what happens to basmati rice when it's overcooked?)

chicken curry: buys frozen chicken and doesn't thaw it first (should result in half-cooked chicken), adds salt to the vegetable broth (not knowing it's already salty)

Does it sound believable? Is it messed up enough? Other ideas for how things could go wrong?


setting a kite in the air on fire

The setting for the story is mid-1700s, Prussia.

This is for a fanfic, and the story idea is based on a throw-away line by one of the main characters about wanting to “fly a kite” and “watch it burn up in the air.”

My question is basically: how would this (setting a kite in the air on fire) be accomplished? I was pretty awful at physics back in school so I’m really not sure how this could work or even if it could. Initially, I thought of maybe somehow making one of the lines into something like a fuse, but again no idea how this would work or even if it can. I’m also aware that if you let go of the lines on a kite it will pretty quickly come to ground. Also, can a kite stay in the air while it’s burning? And if so, for how long, approximately?

Googling hasn’t really helped. I tried various combinations of words/phrases like “kite burning up”, “flying kite on fire”, “burn kite in the air” etc. The closest I’ve gotten to anything coherent was info on the Cincinnati Fire Kite (the one where you set it on fire on the ground and then it takes off on its own) which isn’t really what I’m looking for. I’m more interested in trying to find a way to get the kite flying first and then set it on fire. 

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