I stopped cooking in about 2000 and just started getting back into the swing of it this year. In fact, my younger son–aka Beav–was home from school last spring break and was impressed with what I had made: “Oh, I leave and now you cook.” But trust me the boy didn’t starve because most of the time The Girl was whipping up something utterly delicious and made it look dead simple. On my nights to cook, it went something like this. This blog first published in February 2012.
I must confess over the last few years I’ve mentioned a few times that I don’t enjoy cooking but that’s simply not the truth. And as an apology for leading everyone on, I’m going to share with you a step by step timeline how I create two of the timeless classics my family love.
“June’s Room Temperature Dried out Roasted Chicken” served with “Lukewarm Noodles and Peas No One Really Likes”
4:00pm–That’s about the time I look at the clock and mutter my favorite word which begins with an “F” and rhymes with “truck”. I drag myself into the kitchen, open the refrigerator and hope something freshly homemade falls out of it and into the microwave oven.
4:05pm–When the refrigerator fails to magically dispense food I forage for leftovers. While I’m looking for leftovers I notice TG has helpfully left chicken
June’s Roasted Chicken Dinner
4:00 pm mutter that word which begins with F and rhymes with truck because it’s time to create dinner.
4:01 pm Open refrigerator and hope something freshly homemade magically appears and flies into the microwave.
Mentally calculate how much money you’ve spent eating out this week and decide dining in is inevitable.
Forage into the back of the refrigerator for leftovers which can be called dinner. Decide against pickle meltsin a tortilla. (A pickle melt would be a pickle with melted cheese on it. An interesting take on ova-lacto vegetarian tacos) Consider pouring the gravy looking stuff over bread for a half a minute before realizing that’s Kipper’s Secret Sauce.
Notice The Girl has thoughtfully defrosted chicken and it is arranged on a plate waiting for you to roast it.
4:05 pm Turn the oven on. Go back downstairs to the family room and mindlessly channel surf.
4:15 pm Ignore the oven beeping it has reached the set temperature because an episode of Seinfeld is one and you have seen this one before.
4:35pm continue to ignore the oven.
5:00pm look at the time and intone a special word for poop.
Put the chicken pieces on a sheet pan drizzle olive oil over them and dredge them around in it.
Make sure you wash your hands at least sixteen times.
Reach for the Canadian Chicken Seasoning imported from Sam’s in Playa Del Carmen and flip it open making sure you don’t notice if it’s the “sprinkle” or “pour it everywhere side”.
Pour the seasoning everywhere.
Try to scoop some of it back into the container making sure there isn’t any chicken juice or oil in it.
Dredge the chicken in the two cups of seasoning on the roasting pan and think up excuses for why all the seasoning is gone.
Decide blaming the dog is the best one.
Put the chicken in the oven, set the timer for 20 minutes and resume mindless channel or internet surfing.
5:15pm Decide it would be nice to have something other than Pickle Melt Tacos with the chicken and select pasta with peas will be the side dish.
Put a large pot of water on the stove to boil.
Trip over the dog, swear at the dog, let the dog out.
5:25pm Turn the chicken using whatever is handy like an iced tea spoon and a chop stick.
Drop at least two pieces, splatter juice and fat all over the oven before giving in using the zillion dollar Williams Sonoma French Chicken Turning Tongs.
5:30pm Reset the timer for the chicken
Become impatient with the water.
Look into the refrigerator and reconsider the pickles.
5:40pm Dump the noodles into the boiling water and making sure to splash water all over the cooktop so it makes that cool sizzling sound.
Forget to turn the burner from HI to 7.
5:42pm After the water boils over and threatens to engulf the entire stove, swear loudly and try to maneuver the large and very hot pot with a tea towel off the burner.
Turn the burner to 7.
Let the dog back in before he ruins the screen door.
Swear at him for scratching at the door.
5:45pm Return the noodles to the burner and check them every 30 seconds to make sure they are cooked.
5:50pm Scrounge around for the meat thermometer and test the chicken. Consider them done if they aren’t bleeding and are at least 160 degrees.
Trip over the dog at least six times because he is under foot waiting for freshly cooked chicken or half cooked pasta to fly into his mouth from the sky.
Place the chicken on a plate. Turn off the oven and return the roasting pan to the oven because it’s too hot and there isn’t a safe place to put it.
Forget about the pan for a week or so.
6:00pm Test the noodles for the twenty second time.
Turn the burner off, reach for the strainer, place it in the sink, try to maneuver the very large and hot pan with a tea towel, pour the noodles and boiling water into the strainer until you are blinded by the steam and can no longer tell if you are actually pouring noodles into the strainer.
Scoop the noodles which you poured into the sink back into the strainer.
Swear the dog to secrecy with a noodle bribe.
6:05pm Remember this was supposed to be pasta and peas. Mutter something like “oh for the love of God, June” and start the scary process of digging deep into the freezer.
6:15pm Place the frozen peas into a bowl.
Cut up a small pat of butter and throw it on the top of the frozen peas.
Cover it with plastic wrap so you won’t have to clean exploded pea carcasses off the roof of the microwave.
Set the microwave on an arbitrary defrost or cook setting and hope it works.
6:25pm Pour the peas into the lukewarm noodles
Salt and pepper the noodles
Receive marching orders from the dog it is time for him to eat and reward his commands with a trip outside so he can wait until the people have eaten.
Holler at the people upstairs dinner is ready.
Receive perfunctory compliments because the other two biological members of your family are relieved they didn’t have to make themselves a sandwich or ramen and know the trouble you went to making sure the chicken was cold and the noodles were lukewarm with hot peas they won’t eat.
Next week I’ll share my recipe for: “Burned On The Outside Raw On The Inside Meatloaf” and my special method for making a simple one dish casserole using five different saucepans and a skillet.