Monday, March 4, 2013

Confessions of the Domestically Challenged

I fear this post may be somewhat of a vent session, because I'm frustrated. So I apologize in advance.

I have never been a cook. I just don't "get it". My mother is a great cook, and you'd think I'd have some innate sense of the culinary arts, but I guess it skips a generation in my family.

I am terrified of recipes. More specifically, I am terrified of ingredients. I don't know what the majority of them are, and that freaks me out. I have nightmares of wandering around the grocery store for days not being able to locate chicken stock. (OK, not really. But you get the idea.)

In, the past few weeks, I've given myself somewhat of a resolution, if you will. (Does it matter that it's 2 months late?) I want to be able to cook. Eventually I will have children, and I can't make them eat macaroni and cheese everyday. I want to be able to tell them they won't get dessert unless they finish their broccoli.

So I was perusing some cooking blogs lately and saved a bunch of recipes that I wanted to try. Once I get over the fear of the recipe, and nail it, I get so excited to add it to my repertoire. So I want to grow this.

I picked 4 recipes that I planned to make last week and headed to Kroger to get all of the ingredients. Yes, it took me a while. And yes, I went up and down the same isles 10 times. But I got it all, and I felt confident.

As of right now I've attempted 2 meals. And I'm 0 for 2. UGH.

So this is the first recipe I made the other night. I was so excited to pull them out because they looked like this...

Delicious, right? They sure look like it! Then Tim says, aren't the shells going to be soggy? I assured him they wouldn't because the recipe didn't mention that. Well, they were. At first I thought it was just because there is so much stuff in them, but Tim asked if I drained the meat after browning it. And I got that feeling. The pit in my stomach I get when I know I've forgotten something. And it doesn't help that Tim is giving me the "duh-it's-common-sense-to-drain-meat" look.

I didn't drain the meat because the recipe didn't say to. And since I'm such a noob, I follow recipes RELIGIOUSLY. If they told me to stand on one foot and sing "Mary Had a Little Lamb" while stirring, I would do it.

So now we have soggy tacos dripping with meat fat. Awesome.

The good news is, they were still good. And I got out some tortilla chips so we could eat the meat concoction like dip. Next time I'll crisp the tacos in the oven and just add the filling after, like regular tacos. Oh, and drain the meat.

The second failure came Friday morning. I prepped this crock pot meal before heading off to work. I was so excited to be able to come home, toss in some more ingredients and have it ready to go for me, Tim, and some of his family that were coming into town. Won't they think I'm so domestic?!

I get a call from Tim while I'm at work and he asks: "Was the chicken you put in the crock pot sitting out all night or did you remember to put it in the fridge before you went to bed?"

Shit. There it is again, that feeling. The meat was sitting out all night and I didn't think anything of it as I was tossing it in the crockpot with the other ingredients. Well now Tim is going on about how EVERYONE knows you can't eat chicken that's been out all night. (I'm forgetful, I'm blonde, and sometimes I lack common knowledge. So sue me.)

0 for 2 and the second one didn't even make it to the finished product. Failure.

I've never been good with failure. Growing up I was always able to succeed at things I tried. So this is unfamiliar and aggravates me to no end.

I finally made that meal all the way through. The penne was too chewy and it was just SO heavy because there is so much to it. The flavors were good, but it was an overall bust.

I just needed to vent about this because if there is ANY way to mess up a meal, I will find it. And it's even more discouraging that my mistakes are ones that are "common sense". I'm frustrated at myself for NOT knowing these things, and I'm frustrated at Tim for knowing them.

I refuse to give up. Even though my ego is severely bruised.

Good thing it's not the 1800s. Otherwise, I'd be totally worthless. And would bring shame upon my family.



  1. Hey, at least you are trying! I honestly think the more you cook the better you get! Just keep trying!!

  2. Sounds like both of your problems were caused by meat. You should probably just become a vegetarian ;) But really, you're trying. Rome wasn't built in a day...or something like that. And tell Tim to be nice! Tyler is a terrible cook but it's cute when he tries so I used to choke down a lot of undercooked pasta. You're tough, you can do it! Plus, I cook a lot so if you'd like some meat-free recipes (the easier ones) I'd be happy to pass them along!

    1. OMG, please give me some! You know I won't become a vegetarian, but this meat crap is giving me so much trouble! Helllllppp!!!

  3. I am in the same boat when it comes to cooking, two-thirds of the time my fiance refuses to eat my food. Sad face.

  4. I've messed up too many recipes to count! I once made a cake without sugar. Fail!

    Happy Monday!

    The Hartungs Blog

  5. Oh gosh, you are so not alone! Before I learned how to cook (because I didn't grow up cooking at all), I was so bad, I burnt chicken nuggets in the oven - TWICE. In the same night. My ex decided he was doomed to eat fast food forever. I made so many mistakes, it's embarrassing. :) I'm better now, but every now and then I do something ridiculous. Le sigh!

  6. I highly recommend "Betty Crocker Cooking Basics: Recipes and Tips to Cook with Confidence." My 13 year old copy is completely falling apart because I used it so much the first few years. It has simple recipes AND cooking methods for various meats and veggies. Like, how to grill a steak, or how to cook corn. Perfect for beginners.

    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I'm thinking I should write my own book about how NOT to cook! :)

    2. Ha! I also meant to mention that, although she doesn't SAY it, Mix and Match Mama was probably using very lean ground beef. She mentions using ground chicken or turkey, which are super lean. She also says to brown the beef in olive oil, which you wouldn't need to use unless your beef is lean. All of this may be why she didn't say to drain the fat off. Just a thought.


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