Tuesday, January 4, 2011

A Culinary Disaster

Along with the New Year comes the inevitable resolutions - or "intentions," as some people euphemistically call them.

I prefer to call them "Things that sound good on paper but will never be accomplished."

This year, though, I hope to break that vicious cycle and perhaps - after all is said and done - establish some better habits.

My #1 resolution is to learn how to cook.

Don't worry. I know how to cook. Somewhat. I mean, my kids aren't starving or anything, and we do manage to eat at home most nights - except for the weekends, when it's a good excuse to let someone else do the cooking.

However - I cook out of packages. Or from boxes. Most everything I cook is (shudder) pre-processed.

I want to learn how to cook like they do on "Top Chef." I want to chop and dice and puree and braise and blend and all that other good stuff that looks so awesome when they do it on the Food Network but is stuff I somehow never learned to do. Poor me.

Actually, it's more of "poor family." They've had to suffer from my lack of culinary skills.

I blame my genes on this - because, as we all know, it can't possibly be MY fault that I am less-than-perfect in some area. There must be a good reason - and I have it.

My maternal grandmother was a career woman - and so she never cooked. She hired someone else to do it. I really liked her philosophy on that.

My mother was the same way. Mom worked long days - but instead of hiring someone, she just recruited me to cook. I was cheap labor back in the day - give me a bed to sleep in and a TV to watch "The Brady Bunch" and I was one happy hired help.

Give me some chocolate every now and then as a bonus and I'd do cartwheels in the kitchen for you.

I quickly learned that spaghetti and Kraft macaroni & cheese and Mrs. Paul's fish sticks and Hamburger Helper were very manageable at the tender age of 12. Frozen pizza was my go-to dish in a pinch, which delighted my younger brother and sister - they would "ooh" and "ahh" over the bubbly cheese Red Baron pizza as it came out of the oven.

If I managed to not burn it, that was even better.

Anywho, how to accomplish this fantastic resolution?

Sit down and hold on - because I've signed up for some Basic Cooking lessons at a local Culinary Institute here in town.

Ta da!!!!!

I am somewhat excited - but more scared.

What if I am The. Worst. Student. Ever???

What if I am so bad - that they throw me out of class? Don't laugh. It could happen.

Or what if I chop my finger off during the Knives class? Don't laugh. It could happen.

Besides the classes, I'm also going through my extensive cookbooks - one at a time - and will slowly, methodically - pick a different recipe every day to try.

Today's experiment is already in the crockpot. HOMEMADE macaroni & cheese.

Yes, you read that right. HOMEMADE. No more Kraft for us. This recipe has evaporated milk, eggs, regular milk, noodles, and cheese. Lots of cheese. Yum.

So - we'll see if this works out. We'll see if I change my habits for the better and actually accomplish something this year.

And in the meantime, I guess I'd better resolve to exercise a little. I have a feeling I'm going to need it with all the cheese I plan on eating.




melanie said...

Love it! I realized that I actually enjoy cooking most of the time. I'd love to take a real cooking class!

Emily said...

Have fun! Cooking classes sound like a blast! (The only reason I'm somewhat adept in the kitchen is from working in food services during college.) Good luck on this venture.

Mental P Mama said...

Good for you!!! I grew up at the feet of amazing Southern cooks, and have no idea how to really follow a recipe. I throw and go...and all you need is some fresh veggies, some chicken and some brown rice and you could cook forever! Of course you need about 200 different spices, but those come with experimentation! Yay you!

Lois said...

Sooooooo, how was the mac and cheese in the crockpot????
Lois L.

Drama Queen said...

The mac & cheese? A resounding success! Kids say it is much better than Kraft...!

8 oz cooked macaroni - drained
16 oz grated cheddar cheese
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups low-fat milk
1 12oz. can evaporated milk
1 teasp. salt
1/2 teasp. pepper

Mix all ingredients (except for 1 cup of cheddar cheese - hold it back) in a crockpot. After it's mixed well, sprinkle the remaining 1 cup cheddar chesese on top. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours in the crockpot.