Wednesday, February 11, 2009

NPR - My cooking skills

I'm not a cook, and as about as far from a chef as anyone can get or be. My (then) wife was the cook. I was the cleanup person. Linda was a great and terrific cook, but always the kitchen looked like a tornado or hurricane went through. But I loved to organize and clean. So on the days she'd let me, I would clean as she cooked but often she had enough stuff to cook the meal and I cleaned afterward.

When we separated and divorced, knowing my cooking skills, Linda reduced it to the following recipes.

"Put in the oven and cook for one hour at 350." - adjust from there, but 350 cooks anything.

"Bring to a boil and simmer until ready." - that's works for damn near anything.

"Add butter to the pan and fry on medium-high heat until done, turning when necessary." - also works for damn near anything.

The only things I know how to cook easily are breakfasts, with whatever you want. I even keep one really old cast iron skillet that only fries eggs (ok, most of the time). That's the way to fry eggs. After that it's the following.

"Put into bowl and add milk and sugar to taste."

"Put ingredients into a bowl and whip until thick and/or frothy. Then chill in the frig for an hour."

I'm always amazed how simply you can reduce cooking instructions. And I know the rest is what cooking is all about and why people love to cook. My Dad was that person. He loved spending hours in the kitchen cooking. My Mom the opposite, she cooked to feed people and get on with life.

The problem now is that my digestive system has gone south and eating is hazardous to my health, so cooking is very simply anymore, mostly what I can fix in 5 minutes or less, preferably without cooking. I only cook now on occasion, usually a beef roast or turkey breast which I can cut into sandwich stuff. With chips, and I'm set for life.

So, that's the extent of my cooking knowledge. What's surprising to folks is that I love gourment food stores and grocery stores. I love the whole atmosphere of them, and especially the education about our global economy. I don't know why people don't pay attention to the reality of what it takes for all that to be there then just for you to peruse and perhaps buy. And I don't know why parents don't use them to teach children about the world, namely the geography, economics, people, agriculture, transporation, marketplace, and on and on.

Grocery stores are probably the best place to teach children about the world and we're missing it. It's just food to buy and eat. But it's the whole world and everything about how we live and work, right there. You just have to look and learn, and then wonder, about the world and all the people who brought it to you.

Ok, I'll mosey down the aisle now to the cashier. My basket is full of people's work.

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