Friday, February 11, 2011

let it be known that i actually can make a mean tuna melt

There is an unofficial rule in my family that everyone takes turns cooking dinner.  The rule happens to be, for the most part, completely unenforced because since June I have only made dinner five times.  Now, my parents and brother love to cook.  They always prepare some sort of elaborately marinated, perfectly grilled, deliciously seasoned, slow cooked, beautiful dinner.  And they enjoy doing it.  I am a different story altogether.  I hate to cook about as much as I love to eat, which is a lot.  So it’s no surprise that my track record of family dinners is a little disappointing. 

The first time I cooked dinner for my family, I made some VERY FANCY chicken.  I dipped the chicken in a mixture of butter, crushed cornflakes, and powdered ranch dressing mix, and then baked it.  HOLLA.  It was a HIT.

So, when my turn came around again, about seven weeks later, I made the same thing since, as I always say, why reinvent the wheel or the delicious cornflake ranch chicken?

And once again, a HIT.

Five months later when I had to make a meal again, I was feeling slightly more adventurous because I had two successful dinners under my belt.  So I decided to make this pasta with tomato and blue cheese sauce, because it sounded delicious and was rated “easy.”  Things were going along swimmingly until it came time for the red pepper flakes.

Hello, nosedive to the south.  The lid to the red pepper flakes?  It looks like this...
However, in a fit of overwhelming enthusiam, I took the entire lid off without even realizing what I was doing.  I used it like this.
And I gave three HEARTY, CONFIDENT shakes.  Whoops.  I tasted the sauce because seriously, how hot could some red pepper flakes really be?

The answer is VERY, VERY HOT.  BURNING HOT.  IRREVERSIBLE DAMAGE DONE TO THE MEAL hot.  After I got that answer I proceeded to make what was probably a rookie mistake, and poured in many, many cups of sugar in an ultimately unsuccessful effort to counteract ALL THE HOT.

I even added a can of premade tomato sauce, thinking maybe that would calm things down JUST A SMIDGE, but it didn’t. 

The meal was truly inedible.  Not only was it burning hot, but it also had a slightly gritty texture due to the abundant quantity of sugar.  I basically served my family noodles with hot sauce and sand.


A few weeks ago it was my turn once again.  And you know what they say, once bitten, and twice shy.  So my dinner that night consisted of me VERY LOVINGLY heating up pulled barbecue beef that came from a tub in the freezer section at the food store, dumping store bought coleslaw and fruit salad into bowls, and putting chips in a basket.  As we sat down to say grace, my mom announced, “Okay, let’s pray.  We even have to thank God for this food.”


Well, at least this time the burn was just figurative.

Last night, my turn to cook came around for the fifth time in eight months.  I was going to make some chicken.  All I had to do was cut up some vegetables, lay them in the baking pan with the chicken, and sprinkle on a packet of seasoning, and bake it for an hour.  It sounded easy, but thanks to my poor performance with the last "easy" meal I attempted to make, I was apprehensive.

First of all, it involved cutting an onion, which reminded me of my first onion slicing experience.  It was about eight months ago, and I was in my apartment at school.  I was making pierogies for dinner and decided I wanted some fried onions to go with them.  Clearly I was brimming with culinary confidence and naivete.  I took the onion out of the bag.  Got out a nice, sharp knife.  Pulled out a cutting board.  Looked at all my supplies for a moment, just taking things in. 

And then I texted my old roommate Heather.  “Hey, how do I cut an onion?”

She walked me through it, my eyes stinging and tearing with every cut of the knife.

On Wednesday, in what may or may not have been a last minute effort to get out of cooking, I dramatically informed my parents that slicing onions makes me CRY AND CRY.

They didn’t even FAKE sympathy.

So last night, I cooked the chicken, and things went surprisingly well.  I kept waiting for tragedy to strike, but that didn't seem like it was going to happen.  After an hour of baking, I took the beautiful, golden brown, fragrant chicken out of the oven and served everyone with a sense of pride and accomplishment.  I sat down and cut into the chicken.

It was raw.  R.A.W.  I'm not talking "Oh dear, I may see a tiny bit of pink" raw.  I'm talking the chicken was STILL CLUCKING and could probably go for a lap or two around the barnyard raw.  

Back in the oven it went.  Unfortunately I had to go babysit, so I ate a re-heated version of the meal around 9:45 last night. 

There may have been a few tears, but my story is that they were TOTALLY from the onions.

And as for the next time I have to cook dinner, which will likely be about June or so?

 We're going to Sonic. 


mskanorado said...

Oh my! Sounds like you have been having one heck of a time! Hopefully you will have better luck next time! :)

Holli said...

LOL!!! Great story!! I've done stuff like this too while cooking... I can so relate.... :)

Baby Sister said...

Yeah, sound like stories from my life. :) Great fun, no? :p

Teenage Bride said...

hahahah oh the trials and tuibulations of kitchen accomplishments.

I am proud of your stamina girl!

AubreyMo said...

"my mom announced, “Okay, let’s pray. We even have to thank God for this food." BURN."

I am dying laughing.
I hate when I flub dinner - which is pretty dang often (in fact, just three nights ago we messed up both steaks AND potatoes)! I really want your chicken recipe! And I have a secret weapon.

Go buy a ham (make sure it's not spiral sliced, but it can be any type of ham. I used a 10ish pound butt roast but a shoulder would do fine too),

Put it in the crock pot.

Smother it with 1 1/2 cups brown sugar and cook on low for 6 hours.

Since it's already precooked, there's no risk of undercooking, and all that brown sugar will seep in and make it flavorful. Seriously easiest thing ever.

Things to Do said...

I'm a disaster in the kitchen so I sympathize. And I have had the same thing happen with seasonings. You didn't want an entire jar of cinnamon in this? Too bad.

And I'd gladly go to Sonic for dinner. I consider your family lucky!

Alex said...

hahaha cooking misadventures make for great stories, don't they? You'll get the hang of it!!

ae said...

My best friend and roommate is the same way in the kitchen. We have ordered pizza many times on her night to cook! Kudos to you for sticking with it though!

Thisisme. said...

That was so funny when you mum prayed that "we even have to thank God for this food." LOL! I'm not a brilliant cook either, so my sympathies are with you.

Megan said...

This made me laugh! I hate cooking, too! I get SO mad when I mess up dinner. It happens a lot, too!!

Jessica said...

Cookin can definitely suck! I've heard that if you pop the onion in the freezer for a few minutes, it helps with the fumes/crying. Not sure it works though. :\

Kristin said...

A for effort.... some people were not made to be cooks, and im one of them :)

Jessica said...

Left you an award of my blog!! :)

Heather said...

Hahaha! Until recently, I could burn even the easiest meals. I totally feel your pain!

Kristin - Mrs. Glasses said...

Oh my! Sounds like you tried your hardest but things just don't turn out. Cooking definitely takes A LOT of practice to learn what works and what doesn't. I watched A LOT A LOT of Food Network to get the hang of it, too. Hang in there, you'll get it if you keep trying!

Jas said...

You reminded me of that episode of Little House on the Prairy when Laura dumps all of that Cayenne pepper into Nellie's dinner.

Good call on Sonic. Any fast food fare that serves tots gets an A+ in my book.