This week: Kitchen Comedy Edited by: Robert Waltz
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|My cooking is so bad my kids thought Thanksgiving was to commemorate Pearl Harbor. |
I don't like food that's too carefully arranged; it makes me think that the chef is spending too much time arranging and not enough time cooking. If I wanted a picture I'd buy a painting.
Are you casting asparagus on my cooking?
|It's officially summer now here in the Best Hemisphere, so, according to the law, being a middle-aged man, I'm supposed to grill everything.|
Well, call me a scofflaw. It's just not worth it to fire up the grill and clean it and whatnot just to cook for me. But that doesn't mean I eat leftover pizza every day. I mean, at some point you have to buy the pizza so you have leftovers, right?
But seriously, though I absolutely could absolutely eat pizza every day, that doesn't mean I should. So I spend my share of time in the kitchen. It may be summer, which makes cooking an exercise in applied thermodynamics, but hey, I have air conditioning. And I've been cooking for a very long time, having learned how to do it in self-defense against my mother's well-meaning but failed attempts.
Still, there are some really basic things that I've yet to learn. Anyone who tells you that all it takes is 10,000 hours of practice and you'll become an expert at anything, is misinformed. So here I list several of my kitchen frustrations. And yes, friends, I cribbed most of these from my own blog (with some edits), because I'm lazy:
Cling wrap. I've pretty much mastered the art of not letting the end fall back onto the roll, which would make it utterly impossible to restart it. But two things elude me. First, being able to get a clean cut after I roll some out; inevitably, it'll tear someplace other than the tear strip thing on the box. Or, usually, start at the right place and then go off on a diagonal somewhere. Second -- and most frustrating -- is that I have yet to be able to pull out any length of cling wrap without the stupid stuff sticking to itself; and then, of course, it never actually clings to itself, or to the container, when I use it for its intended purpose (wrapping leftover pizza). This is incredibly frustrating and has led me to invent creative curses. It reminds me of one of my ex-wives: clingy as hell, except when I wanted her to be.
Along those same lines, aluminum foil. How the hell does anyone get it to stay smooth? Or even fold nicely? I go to wrap leftover pizza slices in it and it looks like a moonscape; that is, if I don't tear it during the attempt.
I'm lazy, so I keep a stash of frozen egg-meat-cheese sandwiches to nuke for breakfast. The instructions are usually something like: Wrap sandwich loosely in paper towel. Microwave on low for 90 seconds to thaw. Flip, nuke on high for one minute to cook. So I do exactly what it says, and half the putain fromage has melted onto the damned paper towel. Now, for a while there, I was also having trouble with the wrapping part. If I just folded the paper towel over the sandwich, it would flower open in the microwave and ruin the taste. I finally started to do an envelope-style folding thing (an envelope was what we used to send handwritten letters through the mail when there were handwritten letters and mail). By locking one corner under the other three, I managed to keep the package together -- but this didn't solve the waste-of-lousy-cheese thing.
Ever buy one of those nonstick cookie sheet things? Were you able to use that expensive piece of crap more than once? I can't. First thing I bake on it stains it permanently. I'm not talking about a small discoloration here, but a complete ruination of the supposedly nonstick surface. And no, I don't use metal utensils. Maybe I'm just buying the wrong kind of cookie sheet, but I have yet to find one that is more than single-use, despite its offensive price. Because of the sunk cost fallacy, I usually keep it around and line the damn thing with crinkly aluminum foil, and then spraying the hell out of said foil with Pam. Or I just put the leftover pizza slices directly on the oven rack to warm them up (microwaved leftover pizza is disgusting).
I'm convinced, after having watched movies and TV shows, that the reason I'm single is not because I'm fat and ugly, but because I can't flip a damned omelet. You see actors do it effortlessly, in character, swirling it around in the pan until -- FLIP -- it lands perfectly on its other side, without spraying hot oil all over his naked torso. And the woman's sitting there staring in awe (whether it's at the juggling or the torso depends on the movie). Never mind that this would mean I'd have to be in a position to be making breakfast for a woman in the first place, which is about as likely as finding cling wrap that only sticks to itself after I wrap the leftover pizza with it.
Peeling garlic cloves. Garlic is absolutely essential for most savory dishes and some sweet ones. Buying pre-chopped garlic just doesn't cut it (though there are times when garlic powder works fine). So I buy the bulbs, and then spend half an hour trying to get all of the peel off without getting any of it under my fingernails, or having the papery stuff stick to my fingers. You know how recipes be like, "Time: 15 minutes prep, 20 minutes cooking?" They need to add 30 minutes just for garlic-clove-peeling.
Related to that, peeling a damn hard-boiled egg.
There are more, of course, but hopefully you get the idea. Don't get me wrong -- the food I cook usually turns out just fine; it's just that things that should be basic elude me.
But I'm going to keep trying anyway.
|Some food-related comedy:|
| ||Warsaw Chili [E] |
Wrote this to go along with my entry into a local Chili contest. I made kielbasa chili.
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|Last time, in "Once Upon a Renfairy Tale" , I talked about Renaissance Fair(e)s.|
Unfortunately, no one but me had anything to say about them. If you have a kitchen tragicomedy, let us know in the feedback box!
So that's it for me for June! See you next month. Until then,
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