It’s been 74 days that I’ve cooked dinner every . . . single . . . night. We haven’t picked up fast food; we haven’t ordered take out; we haven’t used curbside. It would have been 75 days, but the children, bless their hearts, ordered pizza from a mom & pop business for Mother’s Day. Healthy Hubby doesn’t want to take any chances of catching the COVID virus, so the wife cooks. Do you know how hard it is to plan meals every night when Hubby only eats chicken, turkey, and fish. Beef, once in a while. One night I snuck in a Beyond Burger disguised as a hamburger with lots of delicious fried onions, tomatoes, lettuce, and ketchup. Unfortunately, he was not fooled.
BETTER HOMES AND GARDEN
It all started as newlyweds 50 years ago with a cookbook, and a container of Alka Seltzer. The prophecy was set. My mother really hadn’t taught me how to cook. She probably figured how hard can it be to put a beef roast and potatoes in the oven. I still have this cookbook, because of one recipe found in the “Easy Meals” tab. It involves opening several cans, mixing everything together, and baking 25 minutes. Sometimes I surprise myself. One night, pre-COVID, I picked up a few sale items from the market: salmon, sweet potatoes, and butternut squash. It served up so . . . orange. My home economics teacher was probably rolling over in her grave.
JULIA CHILD – NOT
The thing is, Julia Child I’m not. In fact, if the recipe has more than 5 ingredients, I turn the page. I found a great book at a garage sale, “The New Cooking with 4 Ingredients” – a real treasure. I usually have soup on hand, and tortillas. If by chance there might be leftovers, I roll them up in a tortilla, pour enchilada sauce over it, and Hubby thinks it’s a brand-new dish.
One year I received an Instant Pot for Christmas, you know, a modern-day pressure cooker. I was scared to death that it was going to explode. The first time I put a pork roast in it to cook, I thought I punched all the right buttons, and was pleasantly surprised when it didn’t blow up. But when the timer dinged and I carefully opened the lid, the roast stared up at me in the same condition as when I put it in the pot.
COMPANY FOR DINNER
I get so nervous when company comes for dinner when I try to plan a gourmet meal. A friend from the Midwest visited us this winter, so I wanted to make him feel at home. For real comfort food, there’s a recipe book called “The Great Minnesota Hot Dish,” so I chose a dish from it. (For those who don’t speak Minnesotan, a hot dish is the same thing as a casserole.) The recipe I chose had more that 5 ingredients, and it involved 3 different steps. It came out more like soup than a casserole, so I served it in bowls.
Then there was the time when our kids still lived at home and my son had his friends over for dinner. He requested his favorite, spaghetti. When they were done eating, one of his friends complimented me on the spaghetti sauce. My son dug in the trash and pulled out a jar, “She uses Prego.” Secret revealed. Now I have an old standby that I cook for company all the time. Yes, it has only 5 ingredients, and chicken is one of them. But it also includes sour cream and bacon, so what can go wrong with that? Hubby likes to quip, “So glad you came over tonight so I could get a decent meal.”
BOOKS FOR SALE
This is where I unabashedly advertise my books for sale. They are all discounted to $9.99 each if you buy them from my website. I’ll personalize and sign each and every one, happily don my mask, and run to the post office for fast delivery.