Top Chef in the (eventual) Making

Variety is the spice of life. Or so I’m told. But what if you don’t like spices? I’m all for better tasting food, but what if you’re craving a big old slice of cheese pizza - hold the red pepper. I’ve never been very experimental with my food; read: I don’t cook much. Dinner usually consists of canned soup or a bowl of cereal. The problem with this is that it’s not all that satisfying. It usually takes some noodles AND a bowl of cereal AND five two cookies before I’m out of kitchen for the night. And, of course, the soups I like are packed with sodium, and the cereal I adore is loaded with sugar, so it’s not exactly healthy eating.

My need for some major dinner change-ups isn’t just about healthier eating (although I wouldn't mind losing some junk in the trunk). I have nagging thoughts that I'm supposed to be in the kitchen and like it, damn it. My sister touts cooking as relaxing and enjoyable. My roommates are always in the kitchen, filling the apartment with some seriously delicious aromas (and making me feel like a total loser when I cut up cheese and crackers for dinner again). I swear Rachel Ray is giving me looks of disgust through the television as she whips up an entire meal in 30 minutes, when I can’t even muster the energy to slap together a PB and J. Maybe it’s gender roles at work; I’m a girl, I should like cooking, right? Maybe it’s the fact that I was the victim recipient of a chain email recipe exchange a month or so back that asked for you to think of a recipe right now and email it to 20 friends (First of all, who has 20 friends? Second of all, we’re still doing the chain email thing?). I stared at the email, willing something other than boxed mac n’ cheese to come to mind. I couldn’t conjure up a single recipe.

I was convinced there was something wrong with me, some feminine gene I was surely lacking. I spent the next few days scouring the internet for easy dinner recipes, and compiled a few that looked easy enough. My ambition got about as far as the grocery store, where it was abruptly crushed. You want me to pay what for a half pound of chicken? And for that price, I should be getting my own blueberry field, not a tiny carton of shriveled berries. Sure, I go to the supermarket. But salad mix and saltines aren’t usually at a premium price, and you can always find a deal on cereal, as long as you’re not opposed to generics.

I did learn a few things in this frenzied quest. My sister and I made chicken noodle soup in our crock-put. That was such a hit, we made it again, adding more spices, and yielding a much tastier soup (I guess spices do help with variety. Spices in soup = good; spices in cereal = bad). I whipped up a super-easy homemade mac n' cheese recipe that I was more than a little skeptical about…and it was delish! Chicken noodle soup and mac n’ cheese aren’t exactly gourmet options, but it’s progress. And so what if I can’t recall a recipe at the drop of a hat; I can name the entire Brangelina gang, and that is no small feat.


Sarah said…
I started at your first post and am working up to the newest, and this is my favorite post yet. After we were all home for Christmas and I saw the anxiety that dinnertime brought to Mom, I'm surprised we ever ate anything beyond Spaghetti O's. I am definitely not the sister who finds cooking relaxing. Instead, I make it through by making friends with people who like to cook. After dinner, I load their dishwasher and sweep the floor, and then I catch them up on Teen Mom and L&O SVU.
brigidmc12 said…
That's genius! Play to your own strengths...and being in the know w/ awfully bad TV is a strength we both share = )