One time, I set a kitchen towel on fire while making pasta. Yes, pasta. The easiest food in culinary history (besides Pop-tarts). Boil water. Add pasta. Pour out water. Voila. Somewhere in there I managed to drag a totally unnecessary kitchen towel over a burner and LEAVE IT THERE LONG ENOUGH for it to catch on fire. To my everlasting shame, there were three witnesses. “Hate” is not a strong enough word to describe the way I feel about cooking. Loathe, detest, abhor – all are too tame to describe the feeling I get inside when it’s 4:00pm and I need a dinner plan. Or when it’s 4:00pm and I HAVE a dinner plan which means I have to spend precious, valuable moments of my life dicing things. Here is a short list of things I’d rather do than cook:
- Vacuum, dust, mop, fold laundry
- Scrub toilets
- Change diapers
- Go to the dentist (for a root canal)
- Go to the doctor (to get weighed, or get shots – or to get weighed AND get shots)
- Balance my checkbook
- Watch Thomas the Train for the FIVE MILLIONTH TIME
I have a friend who watches Julie & Juliaevery single month and swoons when Julie says,
“I love that after a day when nothing is sure… you can come home and absolutely know that if you add egg yolks to chocolate and sugar and milk, it will get thick. It’s such a comfort.” [Julie & Julia]
My friend ACTUALLY gets teary-eyed. (It is a wonder our friendship has lasted this long.)
Let me be clear: mixing egg yolks is NOT A COMFORT. Chinese take-out is a comfort.
I know I can’t be the only one. I can’t be the only person who decides what’s for dinner based on how many dishes it will require me to wash.
I cannot be the only one who searches through online recipe databases and thinks:
“Brown the meat…” Nope, not that one!
“Mince 4 cloves fresh garlic…” Not happening!
“1 Tablespoon coconut oil…” HA HA HA! Next!
My cooking aversion boils down to a very basic business principle: There is simply not a high enough return on investment. If I’m going to plan a meal, buy the ingredients, thaw meat, dice and sautée veggies – if I’m going to mix, drain, and simmer things – if I’m going to pre-heat and tinfoil and bake things – if I’m going to wash cutting boards, knives, pots, pans, mixing bowls, plates and silverware then FOR CRYING OUT LOUD, it had better be the best thing I’ve ever put in my mouth. It should be rapturous, because otherwise, I’d like my two hours and my clean kitchen back please.
But because I have not won any lotteries lately (which would afford me the privilege of hiring a personal chef) I have to cook. As such, I’ve developed a loaded arsenal of recipes and coping mechanisms that work for me – that work for my family. Over the next several months, I’ll be sharing my secret arsenal here, for those of you who, like me, are just trying not to throw temper tantrums in the kitchen. Here is what you can expect to find here.
- Humor. At least if you consider the mental image of a grown woman waving a flaming kitchen towel over her head and shouting “Fire! Fire! Fire!” funny.
- Health. I don’t care for processed foods, AND I’ve got 3 kids’ worth of baby weight to kick, so any recipe that we rely on regularly will have at least a moderate amount of nutritional value.
- Simplicity. You will recognize the names of every single ingredient and know where to find them in a grocery store. You will not have to let anything refrigerate overnight or marinate – at all. You will not have to make your own sauces out of ¼ tsp. of 12 different spices. Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat.
- Deliciousness. Because I want cooking to be WORTH IT, I don’t do bland. And the meals in my rotation have received the picky-child-stamp of approval.
- Dish Count. At the end of every post, I’ll tell you exactly how many dishes you’ll have to wash. This is deal-maker/deal-breaker information, I know.
And I promise that if I set anything else on fire, I’ll get my husband to snap a picture with his right hand as he wields the fire extinguisher with his left. He’s got skills. I hope you’ll read, participate, and share along with me for the next couple of months. We’ll be like a team. No, A BATTALION! A battalion of people surviving the kitchen and swapping hilarious pictures of flaming towels (and chickens and casseroles and crock-pots) along the way.
Friday Blogging Tip!
Friday is blog & business day here at Fancy Little Things, so here is a piece of tried & true blogging advice from me. (Don’t worry, I’m MUCH better at blogging than I am at cooking.)
Don’t be afraid of self-promotion. I used to be reluctant to share my blog on my social media accounts. ”Will people think I’m full of myself? Will they hide/block/judge me?” But the truth is, if you want people to know about something, you have to tell them.
I don’t check my blog reader often, and I very rarely type a web address into my search bar to check for new content. If you don’t post a link, I don’t read it. My stats tell me that this is true of almost everyone – when I share, I get views; when I don’t, I don’t.
If you are nervous because you wonder whether people will WANT to read a particular post, consider why you’re putting it on your blog in the first place. Create quality posts and don’t be shy about self-promotion. When you go all-in, you’ll notice a huge difference!
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