Mystery meat’s got nothin’ on what I served up this past Tuesday and Wednesday.
I freely admit I am not a good cook, even on my best days in the kitchen. I burn teapots, forget key ingredients for soups (celery), and have made some really disgusting things involving lamb. I’m not passionate about sauteing, broiling, boiling, braising, or roasting (unless its marshmallows). I really consider myself more of a “food provider.” I do okay as long as I follow a recipe and have all the listed ingredients.
Glop, on the other hand, is a talented chef, serving up coq a vin, mahi mahi, pork tenderloin, and other restaurant quality fare on the weekends. He can season on the fly and tweak recipes in his sleep. So I feel a little pressured to take things a notch above frozen pizza and fish sticks on the weeknights. Hence I do a lot of planning for every meal I make. But somewhere between the fridge and the table, things can go a little haywire. Take this past week, for example.
As Tuesday’s dinner hour approached, Toddler began her daily rant of “I hungee. I hungee Mommy.” Glop had yet to materialize. And I had failed to defrost the chicken for the “quick and easy” dinner I had so meticulously planned. The girls and I had to be out the door within the half hour for a running clinic, just to throw an extra wrench in the works.
So, to the pantry. Fast Mac and frozen peas for the littles. Easy. (Why don’t I just do that every night?) But what to serve Glop?
I stood before well-stocked pantry closet and breathed deeply. I closed my eyes and grabbed a can of black beans. Then I did the unthinkable (at least in our little fam). I worked with a recipe off the can for black bean and corn salad. Mind you, this was not Goya or Green Giant. We’re talking store brand. What’s worse is that I didn’t have all the ingredients, so I improvised. The result was something I can only describe as YUCK.
Tomatoes do not make a good substitute for red peppers. And garlic powder just does not do the work of real garlic. But because I do not have Glop’s culinary sixth sense, we suffered.
The next day, we moved on to YUCK’s sequel, YUCK II, which actually featured meat but was far worse than the original YUCK. Once again, I deviated from plan, this time because it was 90 degrees out, Glop was not home, and the tots were simmering. I had at least thawed and marinated chicken. Working off the cuff, I whipped out my ancient Foreman grill, boiled some pasta, and cut up Kalamata olives and cherry tomatoes. I doused it all in a concoction of olive oil and lemon juice and gave it a good tossing. I thought my improv skills were really improving until Sunny said it was gross and Glop declared it had an “off” taste. It did indeed have an off taste, but what the hell – it was food, we were hungry, we ate it. And then I threw the Foreman away.
My takeaways from this experience:
1) Foreman grills were not meant to last 10 years and still produce edible food.
2) Always stock the freezer with fish sticks, frozen pizza, and, in case of inclement weather, Hot Pockets and Lean Cuisine.
3) If you’re not a good cook, act like one at your own peril.
4) Food is food, and many people don’t have any. So be grateful for what you do have, whether it’s Fast Mac or YUCK.