Best Invention Eva
Best Invention Eva
I am culinary challenged. Though I have a deep creative streak, when faced with making something new out of those things in the food pyramid, I always end up with some sort of tacos--sans a major ingredient (like flavor packet)--and tell the family, "just eat it."
Whether I am missing a gene or the education system failed me (home-ec was no longer required by the time 80s feminists entered high school), I don't know. And it was never much of a problem. When I tried to make brownies out of a box for my college boyfriend and then ruined them, I just smooshed them down into a pretty glass and stuck cool whip on top. Kept the relationship going for another few months.
In my years of experience, I find cheese or bacon, draped across the top, will wake up a tired burger, chicken fillet or just other pieces of cheese and bacon.
My vegetarian years were actually more fruitful (love my unintentional puns). I had to look up what to make. I bought cookbooks and made intricate grocery lists or else I would starve. Being a vegetarian is not as easy as taking out a piece of fat back to defrost and then opening a can of corn. The can of corn ends up being the central ingredient, and if you want to keep any muscle on your bones (bad Courtney Love), you've got to have some protein in there. So I got into the habit of thinking ahead. And it totally stressed me out. Cooking is not a pleasure for me. I get really pissed while doing it. I leave a mess. Something is always missing that needs to be the focus of the meal and if one of my family even blinks an eye when I place the plates on the table I go ballistic.
Then, God invents Dinner A'Fare. Not only is the name adorable, but so is the idea. I've been twice, and like crack, now I can no longer function without it. You pick from a menu of meals and go to this very well-stocked kitchen, put on a cap and apron and let rip. They have the recipe right there in front of you, plus all the ingredients. It is like putting together Mouse Trap. The board is the meat, then the instructions tell you what to put in little bags for marinade or sides, until you have it all set up and you just go home, crank that little gear and let the plastic boot kick the bucket, releasing the ball and the whole thing works like magic until the mouse is trapped. That was a gross metaphor, but both the game and the Dinner A'Fare make me happy.
I have this Idea of wanting to be a good cook. And I have this Idea of being organized. It just has never naturally occurred. Now, I go with friends, spend two hours putting together 12 meals, that I would never be able to think of, and come home and stuff the freezer. Last month Colin took some of the pork tenderloin over to the neighbors to try. The neighbor called and said, "I've never seen your husband happier."
I saw that same look last night as I had him pack the freezer with my prey. He caressed each air-tight package. I felt a little proud of myself, despite the lack of talent it took to accomplish it.
While in that polished kitchen with food and clean workspaces, I feel like I am on Top Chef. Not nose-sweat Howie, but perhaps a female Sam Talbot (the cute diabetic). However, in reality, I know it is the crack-like delusion that makes things seem grander. I am actually more of a cafeteria lady, following directions and making sure my hair doesn’t get in the marinade.