ADVENTURES IN COOKING – Amaze Your Friends!
So, this happened during the Coronavirus shutdown: I am finally learning to cook.
One of the few things my Mom failed at was teaching her eldest son how to cook. Oh, there were some modest accomplishments: I learned to fry bacon and scramble eggs, grill burgers and hotdogs, mash potatoes, even bake a cake – all the basic food groups. I mean, after all, what more do you really need? I also learned to make a mean “Honeymoon Salad” (lettuce alone). Simple and uncomplicated is good.
True, we have done our fair share of ordering take-out during the shut-down, wanting to support local restaurants which stayed open and keep their employees on payroll. Chicago-style deep-dish pizza is just as tasty when eaten at home.
But along the way, we got a “teaser” offer from Sunbasket, a California firm which markets fresh-food ingredients, home-delivered each week. The first basket of 3 meal ingredients was half-off, with a free meal thrown in. So we selected a diabetic-friendly diet, and soon Sunbaskets started showing up on the porch, reliably delivered to the front door every week. We have discovered that while Instacart and the delivery services of Amazon and Walmart are impressive during “normal” times, they don’t always work well during a pandemic – even when items are in stock.
SOME THINGS I HAVE LEARNED
Cooking is waayy more time- and labor-intensive than I imagined.
Bette is an excellent cook. So was her mother. So was mine. (I knew that already).
Lentil sloppy joes are edible, when properly seasoned – but vastly improved with some beef!
There is a lovely, subtle yet profound intimacy in cooking together with a trusted partner who knows you well.
Still, you want to be pleasant and friendly when your cooking partner has a hand on a sharp utensil, blunt instrument, or pan of hot oil.
Spinach (and other rejected-in-childhood vegetables) CAN be prepared in ways that are downright tasty. But zucchini “noodles,” while nourishing, are still no substitute for pasta.
I have renewed appreciation for the bounty of God’s good earth, which He filled with food.
Props, kudos, and many thanks to the farmers who plant, grow, and harvest our foodstuffs. Many of us would starve if left to our own devices.
Blessings upon the memory of those who “discovered fire,” and the utility of heat which transforms many substances into more palatable forms.
And to those who invented refrigeration, and flash-freezing. (We are also supplementing with Schwan’s home delivery, which we had never used before – not bad for frozen).
I am impressed, and grateful for, the many devices (both manual and electric) which carve, slice & dice, mix, and otherwise manipulate and re-arrange ingredients.
Renewed respect to those professional chefs who not only make it look “easy,” but come up with unusual but delicious food combinations.
And, finally: many, many thanks to the good sisters who have cooked numerous meals for me and others during the various meetings and lectureships I’ve spoken on through the decades. For those who may not have had the experience, these are very nice, even elegant, guest-of-honor meals, with much forethought and advance preparation required. Even though I have tried to make it a point to be complimentary and express sincere thanks, I was likely not nearly as effusive over their efforts as I should have been. Despite my best intentions in expressing gratitude, I’m sure now that I did not comprehend the time, energy, and expertise required. So, thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU! Compliments to the chef!
Now, what’s for supper?