Here's my favorite. I told it I only had apples.
Apple on its own - Serves 1
Ingredients: 1 apple
1. Take apple and examine for signs of wear and tear.
2. Put your coat on and go down to the local shop or supermarket.
3. Whilst (whilst!) walking chew on your apple. Stop eating when you get to the pips and stalk. Throw the stalk in the bin and get some food.
HAHAHA!! Isn't that great?! I laughed my head off. I am easily amused.
I couldn't cook for the longest time. It wasn't until I was in my 30s that I learned how to boil rice. The only things I could make, besides pasta noodles, that required a stove or an oven before I met Anders were tuna casserole, and artichokes. I have, in fact, on more than one occasion, given directions to little old ladies in the produce section who stopped me with my globe artichokes in hand and quaveringly asked, "Do you know what to do with those, dearie? Because they've always been a mystery to me." My bosom would swell with pride (shut up, John) and importance because I KNEW THE ANSWER, and I'd preen a bit and say, "Why, sure, ma'am, it's really very simple. You just..." and then I'd give them the low-down on artichokes which was basically: cut the stem off and boil them for 45 minutes. Serve with mayo for dipping." Just call me Julia Lizardek CHILD.
ANYWAY, it was my divine tuna casserole that reeled my man in, let no one tell you anything to the contrary. There was even a toast to the wonders of my man-catching tuna casserole powers at our wedding, for chrissake.
There was never any REASON for me to learn to cook, you see. I lived in downtown Chicago. There was take-out sushi, Chinese, Thai, pizza, gyros, deep-dish, you-name-it, one block from my apartment in any direction you cared to mosey. And I was a whiz with a microwave. Cooking? Schmooking!
Then I met Anders, who on one of our first dates made a baked shrimp and red pepper au gratin deliciousity that made me delirious, and who served GOOSE to our friends stuffed with apples and plums and homemade apple pie with vanilla sauce for dessert on St. Marten's Eve, and then prepared the entire traditional Swedish julbord for my family ALL BY HIMSELF, even with smoked EEL and paté and the WORKS, and ohmigod I was going to marry this man and he was going to expect more than cans of Campbell's soup and microwaved tuna melts and Chef-Boy-a-Dee....
(A quick caveat, before you think I was a complete waste of time in the kitchen: I COULD bake. Cookies and cakes were no problem, as long as I remembered to, ahem, not throw the box out before I was done with the preparations :P)
MOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!! I used to call my mom all the time on the phone when I was cooking and ask her stupid questions about recipes and ingredients and substitutions and help save me mom, it's boiling over, and she very patiently waved her magic mom wand and, through her tears of laughter, gave me the advice I needed to make it through another mealtime. Then we moved to Sweden, and I didn't have a job, and I couldn't call my mom on international rates WITH NO INCOME to ask her whatever stupid question it was that I needed the answer to RIGHT THAT VERY MINUTE.
Necessity is indeed the mother of invention, and I found that cookbooks, especially BHG in its non-intimidating, welcoming little red and white check cover along with the clip book full of old family favorites handwritten and carefully collated by mom, were my new best friends. My girlfriends and I started a cooking club as well, where we shared the costs of ingredients, and I learned that souffles and pot pies and bouillabaisse were all possible, and even edible, as long as you FOLLOWED THE DIRECTIONS, and most of the time they weren't anywhere near as difficult as I had always been led to believe. I learned to wing it and to substitute, and to be adventurous as well. I still don't cook as much as I'd like to, but now I know that one doesn't necessarily need to be Martha Stewart or Julia Child to call oneself a cook.
Tonight, I whipped up dinner WITHOUT a recipe: Korv Stroganoff à la Lizardek, and it was YUMMY and Anders and the kids ate it all up! Take heart, brief_therapy, if I can do it, anyone can!
Korv Stroganoff à la Lizardek
(all measurements are approximate)
1 falukorv, sliced into 1.5" long, thin pieces
2 red peppers, sliced into strips
1 can sliced mushrooms
2.5 dl crème fraîche
1.5 dl chili sauce
Stirfry the red peppers on medium heat just until they're beginning to get soft. Remove and set aside, under cover. Stirfry mushrooms and falukorv until thoroughly cooked. Mix crème fraîche and chili sauce and pour over stirfry, add the red peppers. Cover and cook until just bubbling. Serve over rice.
My bud, Sheryl, who writes wonderful stuff over at Paper Napkin and who came up with the imaginative and fun De-Lurking Day last year, has expanded the fun into a whole week, starting today. De-Lurk! I double dog dare you!
Attention Writers!: The deadline for the first Mosaic Minds issue of 2006 is coming up quick on January 15th for publication on February 1st, and we are looking for submissions. If you write essays, short stories, long stories, poetry or articles, please consider submitting your stuff! The theme is Generation Gap but only feature articles must follow that theme, so submit away!
Joyous, Glorious, Wildly Uproarious Birthday Wishes to Marilyn!