Sunday, January 11, 2015

So Many Cookbooks, So Little Talent

Andy made us a delicious dinner in the crock pot tonight.  It was pork that had a wonderful flavor and was tender enough to eat with a fork.  He even put a little sauce over it that he made from his homemade blackberry jam to add a sweet and tangy element.

If it wasn't for him, we would never eat like this.

I am afraid of cooking.

 I can bake just fine.  I understand leavening and measuring and I can turn out lovely cookies and cakes.  I can make a gorgeous golden flaky crusted pie, but if you put something in front of me that has bones or used to be able to look at me I am completely at sea.

I can follow a recipe.  I know what they are talking about when they say sear or braise or any of those "dealing with meat" related terms, but I would rather tend to a pot of pasta or grill some vegetables than be intimidated by proteins that could be undercooked and make someone ill.  If I undercook pasta the world won't end, but I feel like undercooking chicken will result in me never eating chicken again.  The thought of it makes me squeamish to the point where I can't enjoy food on the bone.

Andy makes fun of me all the time for my cooking methods.  He doesn't like boxed mixes when he can make things from scratch.

The only things I knew how to make when I left home involve ground beef and frozen, breaded things like veal patties. and chicken nuggets.  By the time I was a kid my mom and dad had already raised and sent my four siblings off to fend for themselves and we ate things like hamburgers and pizza when we didn't go out for dinner at the Dairy Dip or King's.  It was awesome, but now I find myself wishing I knew how to go about making a pot roast.

I hope I can find a cooking class in the area.  It seems like the community college would offer one.  I am also going to try to make a habit of figuring out a new recipe at least once a week.  Look at all the cookbooks I have to choose from...

This is the first time they're all in one place, and this isn't including the six huge recipe boxes I have.  I went through a period of buying up vintage recipe collections because I loved the thought of trying recipes that folks had scribbled on and added notes to.  They're easy to find on eBay if you're interested in that kind of thing.  I also have a great set from my sister that was one of the recipe of the month kind of things.  I have baked some excellent cookies and pastries from those boxes and found a wonderful variety of appetizers, soups and dips to make but I really need to find recipes that won't freak me out.

I think I ought to go on the Worst Cooks in America show.  I'm willing to learn, but they would love my fear of everything that used to have eyes.  Bobby Flay would laugh me out of town.

In the meantime I'll start with things I'm not afraid of.  I recently conquered my fear of vegetables (I'm not even kidding - the only veggies I used to eat were corn, potatoes and raw carrots) so maybe I'll start with some vegetarian dishes and work slowly towards the stuff that needs butchering.  I have arborrio rice to try risotto and I have lentils to try a soup I saw that looked tasty.  Those things are far enough out of my wheelhouse that if they're susuccessful I think I might be able to try something more elaborate.  I stir fry chicken breasts and boneless pork chops comforstably, so there's always room to grow.

Do you have any fool proof recipes for me?  Any suggestions of delicious dishes that won't freak me out?  I'd love to hear them!


  1. The crock pot is your friend! There are lots of recipes for the crock pot that use meat. Also, helpful is a digital meat thermometer. I found that being able to test the internal temperature of meats helped me get over the fear of under cooking.

    1. Seared in pan & used crock pot to finish it off, tried to show her this is easy