Tuesday, February 23, 2010
home cookin' 101
i consider myself to be a pretty good cook-NOW. when i got married, 27 years ago, i had very little experience beyond baking and microwaving. i remember calling my mom from our studio apartment in california to ask how to cook meat! oh, i could have gone without cooking or eating meat, but not bilbo!
there was some trial and error involved in those earlier days, let me tell ya! i don't remember details about my own mistakes but i do remember one time bilbo wanted to surprise me by making a pudding pie for dessert. he used chocolate pudding, my favorite! i was psyched, i piled a big bunch of whipped cream on top and dug in. the pudding was great, but as i chewed a bit more, i realized something was not right with the crust. then i figured out what it was. he had used a frozen pie crust and had not baked the crust first! i wanted to stop eating but i didn't want to hurt his feelings, so i took another bite. he must have figured it out at about the same time, 'cause he had a sheepish look on his face and said, "oh man!" we had a good laugh about it and eventually ate all the pudding out of the pie shell!
now, after many years of cooking, i still have some mishaps of my own. they are usually the result of a) being harried b) being distracted or c) all of the above and less a result of ignorance. more than once, or even more than twice, i have made a dish and forgotten an ingredient. and sometimes, it was the main ingredient- like the time i made tuna casserole and forgot the tuna! and another time, we sat down to a seasoned rice dish and we were wondering why it was so bland. well, wouldn't ya know, i forgot the seasoning mix! and another time, i used a jar of salsa in the spaghetti instead of sauce...zingy!!
then there are the times when the microwave is to blame. i have many a time pulled something out of the micro only to dump it on the floor! oh, and let's not forget ALL the times i have gotten up in the morning and found something in the microwave that i failed to serve at dinner the night before!
my most memorable kitchen mishap occurred years ago but it taught me an important lesson. i was baking something in a glass casserole dish. i looked in the oven to check on it, and thinking it looked dry, i decided to add some liquid. i filled a measuring cup with some water and poured it into the pan. the pan was sitting up on the stove and when the cold water hit the hot glass dish, it exploded!! tiny, sharp shards of glass went EVERYWHERE! after the scream and the heart attack, i realized that i had a small cut on my cheek and one on my shin. then it struck me that i could have been covered with shattered glass; hurt badly. i had to sit down, take a big breath and thank my guardian angel. well, that and re-plan dinner!
my hubby especially likes to remember the time i made chicken flambe'. it was the result of chicken fat hitting the heating element of the electric oven and bursting into flames! yeah, i had to re-plan dinner that night too!
my most recent cooking "fo pa" happened a couple weeks ago when i cooked a turkey. i have cooked turkey several times and i know to take the goodies out before i cook it. and i did this time too. i removed a big bag of "i don't wanna know" and also a turkey neck. i proceeded to stuff and roast the bird and then it was time for bilbo to do the carving. after he removed the stuffing and was well into the cutting, he said "oh man, you did it again!" and i turned to see him pulling another bag of goodies out of the turkey! i was really surprised, i mean, what was in there? turkey lips? elbows? knees? and apparently, i had done that before. oh well, we laughed and feasted anyway!
so, i guess it's a good thing i cook simple, basic food and don't try anything fancy or gourmet! although, i guess i could still learn a thing or two........
1. my family will eat anything
2. february only comes once a year
3. t.willie loves books