Feast of 7 Gallons of Water on the Floor

29 Dec

We thought it would be fun to make a “Feast of the 7 Fishes” dinner before Christmas. I have no idea about the history of this tradition except that Italians do it on Christmas Eve. It probably had some nonsensical religious origins, but I don’t care about that, we just wanted to cook and eat a bunch of seafood. So, Melinda and Alex came over and we indeed had our version of Seven Fishes (on Christmas Eve Eve). This included shrimp cocktail, fried calamari, crab dip, iron skillet mussels, salt-crusted whole red snapper, Caesar salad (anchovies) and linguini with clam sauce. We even had some Ben and Jerry’s Phish Food for good measure. It was a hell of a feast and a great time.
A little while before Melinda and Alex were due to arrive I was thoroughly cleaning the clams I had gotten from my friend Jim. They came out of the water that morning so they were very fresh. I was scrubbing the clams and rinsing them over and over to make sure there wouldn’t be any sand or mud to mess up the sauce. Finally I finished up and as I went to walk away from the sink I realized I was standing in a giant puddle. I was initially confused because I didn’t think I was splashing much, but when I opened the cabinet the problem was clear, the tailpiece for the drain had cracked all the way around where it screws onto the drain.

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I’m guessing this was a result of some kind of dissimilar metal reaction. A quick check with the local hardware store revealed that they were closed and we were on our own. There was no time to run all the way to Home Depot… Our guests were soon to arrive and we still had 4 or 5 fishes to go! The only reasonable thing to do was to channel my dad and break out the electrical tape. I put about 20 wraps around the broken connection and put a basin under the P trap in case of any slight leaks, (there weren’t any, by the way) and we got back to work cooking.

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The electric tape repair had actually been holding up great; it was dry as a bone under the sink, but I figured it would be prudent to do a proper repair, just in case Mike Holmes stops by unannounced. I went out and got what I thought would be appropriate replacements for the damaged parts and brought them home. Less than ten dollars, not too bad. I had to use the blow torch to remove the old screw fitting from the drain, it was really frozen on there. It melted like solder when I torched it, quite surprisingly. Finding the right parts was made slightly more tricky because there is also an inlet for the dishwasher that needs to be accommodated. I had to get an 8″ tailpiece with the dishwasher inlet and then an extension piece to make up the rest of the distance, which I had to cut to fit. After I cleaned everything up I fitted all the new stuff losely and then tightened it all up and attached the dishwasher hose and we were back in business.

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While I had the whole sink cabinet taken apart we reorganized everything under there and installed a fire extinguisher in the front so it is close at hand in case anyone decides to broil any bread crumb crusts for 5 minutes and we don’t have any wet dish towels handy. 🙂

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