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Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The terrible, horrible, no good, very bad cook

I love the Food Network. If I were allowed to pick television channels from an a la carte menu, the Food Network would be one of three that I would choose. (The other two would be MSNBC so I could watch "Lock Up" and Discovery Health for "Untold Stories of the E.R.")

But just as standing in a garage does not make one a car, watching the Food Network does not make a person a gourmet chef. I'm such a non-chef that I couldn't get a job as a fry cook at the Krusty Krab. (Spongebob, anyone?)

I'm pretty much a utilitarian cook. I cook because we have to eat. But if I ever win the lottery, the first thing I'm doing is hiring a personal chef.

My first food fiasco happened on my 12th birthday. My mom was at work and I was home baking my own birthday cake. I don't remember exactly what went wrong, except that everything went wrong and I called my mom several times that day in tears about the cake.

Then, before Mike and I were married, I made dinner for us in my apartment one night. I was trying to make use of what was in the pantry. So I took some canned tuna, mixed it with some barbecue sauce and patted it in a pan. Then, I slapped a couple of pieces of fat-free cheese on top of it and put the whole thing into the oven. When it came out, looking like a kid's rain slicker had melted onto the tuna, Mike took one look at it and promptly carried the whole mess, pan and all, to the dumpster in the parking lot.

It's not that I don't know how to follow a recipe; I do. But sometimes my downfall is in the technique required for certain recipes. Other times, it's because I don't really understand food well enough to what flavors complement other flavors and what textures are appealing with what foods.

This was tonight's dinner (avert your eyes if you have a weak stomach):

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It actually came from a recipe. But anyone who knows how to cook probably would have taken one look at that recipe and known it was going to turn out like a tight perm on short hair - hideous!

Once I figured out that dinner as I had planned it was inedible (I did taste it and it tasted a bit like spicy wallpaper paste seasoned with tree bark), it was time for Plan B. Tonight's Plan B -- when you cook like I do, every night has a Plan B just in case -- was take and bake pizza.

Here's the other problem with cooking. You have to pay attention. I was lying here on the couch, enjoying relative quiet and thinking "It's too bad that crockpot dinner was so terrible, because honestly it smells good."

As the good smell got stronger and stronger, I realized it wasn't the crockpot vomitus that was fragrancing the kitchen. It was the pizza that I put in the oven AND FORGOT ABOUT.

Insert a few expletives (this is a rated PG blog after all). A quick run over to the oven led me to find this:

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A little well done, extra crunchy, but not inedible. Someone else's kids might have turned their noses up if this was served for dinner. But mine know that this is good as it gets some nights. So they ate it. . . and asked if they could have ice cream for dessert.

9 comments:

Angie said...

What the heck was that SUPPOSED to be? That is nasty!

Beth said...

My guess is something mexican...looks like there are tortillas in it. Now that I've guessed, I'll go look at the recipe and see if I'm close ;)

Rebecca Cameron said...

So,... the photos didn't exactly match up, but at least you gave it a try! I am all for experimental cooking! :)

Beth Zimmerman said...

Oh Amy! This made me laugh! :) What on earth made you combine tuna and barbecue sauce! I'm not sure my hubby would have said *I do* if I had done that while we were dating!

Momza said...

For years and years and years,
the smoke alarm served as our dinner bell!
I am not even kidding!

varangianguard said...

Perhaps your cooking reflects your first (bad) experience. You fail (and boy, do you fail - lol) because deep down, you expect to fail.

Perhaps you should try the following:

1) Start simple. Stay away from the Food Network (at least to begin with). There are plenty of recipes to be found that don't require you to be Julia Child.

2) Be prepared (read the recipe ahead of time, and have the ingredients on hand - no substitutions for you!)

3) Pay attention! Use a timer!

4) Have dinner preparation become a family event (unless, of course, you like being a servant?). See Number One. Kids can easily help in preparing/heating vegetables, fruits and/or starch sides. No fooling around with sharp objects.

5) Make it fun, not a chore. Half of this is attitude. You like to eat? Then get to like making what you eat. Nobody is asking for haute cuisine here, eh?

Michelle said...

Thanks for sharing your weakness, Amy. Cooking is one thing I can do when I take the time. I have other weaknesses, such as organization, cleaning and the like.

Anonymous said...

LOL. That looks awful.

Diane
Toronto, ON

Pradnya said...

hey, i so much agree with you. Even i am your kind. I dont know i am gone get the basic right with the big word ''cooking food''