WARNING: I have broken my own rule today about not swearing a lot at Foolery. Today I have sworn like a sailor -- lustily and with gay abandon. Well, actually just a little bit. Please be forewarned.
One of my favorite blogs to read when I want to really think about stuff is Is My Cape Fluttering? Asthmagirl, the blog goddess at that site, wrote a great post last week about kitchen disasters that made me laugh . . . and then cry when I remembered some of mine. Quick, go read her post, and then come back. I'll just be here whistling and kicking tires and swearing like a sailor until you show up again.
Back? Okay, good.
It's hard to imagine that the co-inventor of a dish called GLOP could fancy herself a good cook, but I'm somewhat self-centered and awfully opinionated and usually wrong, so you sort it out. I am the sister of a chef and the daughter of a home ec teacher (and a great cook), so it stands to reason that I was brought up with a whisk in my hand and a spatula behind my ear.
Guess whose job it was, when I was a kid, to set the table? Mine. Clear the table? Mine. Load the dishwasher? Mine again. Clean the kitchen? That'd be me again. So, did I learn NOTHING from my mother the great cook? Well, I learned a few things that have been invaluable over the years:
1. Never serve a monochromatic meal -- it's unappetizing. Put lots of color on the plate.
2. Homemade mayonnaise is easy to make, is a great way to use all the eggs your chickens keep laying, and tastes like shit.
3. Anything worth eating is usually made from scratch, other than mayonnaise, but you already knew that.
4. And, from my budding chef-brother, "Add sugar 'til it tastes good." This is great advice for everything except marinara sauce.
(Photo stolen from these guys)
So it wasn't until I got married that I began to cobble together my hidden kitchen abilities and ideas into the beginnings of passable cooking skills. Still, there have been disasters and lessons learned. (Never open a bottle of red wine in a white-white kitchen after 10:30 p.m. unless the bottle is FIRMLY on the rock-hard tile when the cork gives way. It's amazing how far wine-spattered glass shards can travel through your clean freak roommate's silent house.)
Lesson #1 begins with this sentence: "Well, it's the best recipe EVER with pasta . . . I'll bet it'll be just as good with RICE."
Lesson learned: NO SUBSTITUTIONS ON STARCHES. And thus was born my kitchen motto, "Remember, we can always rent a pizza." I've had to do it only twice, as I remember, the first time being the rice disaster, which I can describe with two (non-swear) words:
(I left a nice space in the middle to insert the swear word of your choice.)
Lesson #2: If you don't like mango, why the HELL would you think you'll like it in a wrap?
Lesson learned: No amount of recipe cuteness can disguise a bad ingredient. Mangoes are the world's nastiest food and they're a bitch to cut up. Ditch the mangoes. Rent a fecking pizza.
Lesson #3: Four tablespoons of black pepper is rather a lot, even when the person who gives you a recipe warns you that Whiskey Chicken is "kinda spicy."
Lesson learned: Avoid recipes with "whiskey" in the name. Drink the damn whiskey as you bake you up some bland chicken. Salt and pepper to taste.
(Photo stolen from these guys)
Lesson #4: Roasted meat on a platter is slippery.
Lesson learned: ANYTHING can be rinsed off. Well, not bread. Or cereal. And rice is tricky. And sauce is pretty much impossible to rinse. But meat rinses great, and that's why God created gravy.
Who's hungry? I'm renting a pizza.