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My friend brief_therapy has admitted that she can't cook. She's even gone so far as to PROVE it on a few occasions. So, another friend of ours, Marie ozswede MarthaStewart sent her a Cooking By Numbers website to help her out. I thought, HEY! That sounds like a good idea. You enter in the ingredients you have to work with that are currently in your fridge or your cupboard and it gives you recipes that work for those particular items. Cool, eh?

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!
mood: accomplished
music: Breeders—Fortunately Gone

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Ah, if G could cook, my, wouldn't life be different! One day, before we were married and he was visiting me at my apartment in Brooklyn, his cousin gave him a hard time that I was working all day and would then come home and fix dinner while he had been sitting around at home. So he took it upon himself one day to fix dinner. He went to the little vegetable stand down the street, bought some things he thought he'd seen me cook, and got started. When I arrived home that night I found him swearing in the kitchen with the pasta water boiling over while he turned something over and over in another pan. Further investigation showed that he was trying to saute some cucumbers that he had mistaken for zucchini.

He now saves his cooking adventures for frozen pizza and the like.

LOL! Poor guy! Didn't think to look in a cookbook?

I'm de-lurking to tell you that i think Sheryl's idea is great! And, I'm going to post it, too! I have no idea who reads my journal, because i usually don't post anything that is worthy of comments.

As you probably know from my recent post on this subject, I too only started to cook after getting married and realizing I kinda' had to in order to please my man (which sounds like he demanded it or expected it - which was NOT the case - but you know what I mean: you just don't feel right about serving Top Ramen on your nights to cook when the other person has served meat and starch and vegetable and dessert).

Anyway, I just wanted to second your encouragement to brief_therapy along the lines of "if I can do it, anyone can". Because it may be trite, but it's also true ;-).

Optional Milk
As much as you want. Coffee

method: 1. Boil some water and put your coffee in a cup. Mix some boiling water with the coffee. Add sugar and milk to taste. Now ponder the complexities of life and why you don't have any food in the house.


I like the delurking idea.

brief_therapy can at least make salsa. lol

That's not cooking, that's CHOPPING.

De-Lurked! hoot!


I think I remember having a "Kid Cook Dinner day" regularly sometime when you were in your teens. I know I tried to teach some basics! At least you apparently paid attention during the baking sessions! :)
And for posterity, I also enjoyed the "HELP" phone calls from you AND your siblings!
But, it's a wonderful thing that all of you caught someone who loves to cook!
Love, Lizardmom

If you can read, you can cook.

If you can read, you can cook.

That became my motto at about fourteen years [1967] old when my Mom went into the hospital for either her gall bladder removal or her hysterectomy. {I forget which}

Seriously, I said that "If you can read, you can cook" stuff in my campaign to be allowed to take the cooking responsibility on. In the previous year when my Mom had either her gall bladder or hysterectomy surgery, we had casseroles from friends, neighbors, and family.. but I wanted more control this time.

Anyhow, I enthusiastically became the family cook for a couple of weeks thanks to the
"Fanny Farmer Cookbook".. bible of my Mother's kitchen.

Grocery shopping with my Dad became an oasis in our power struggle of that tumultuous year, AND I learned to cook. My Dad however, never did learn to cook. And I married a gourmet chef and baker.
But those are other stories...... and I just wanted to add my vote to the follow the recipe and then learn to digress jargon

Oooh, the delurking week. Why I need this, I don't know, but I lurk at an awful lot of places and I kind of feel bad about it. On the other hand, I don't exactly lurk here as you know I read your journal. But I'm commenting anyway because, hey, it won't kill me...

I'm not sure I've commented here before...

Hi, I'm Marie and I'm a lurker. Well mostly. I think I've commented maybe once or twice. I read you because you write beautifully, I love to hear your stories and your moonbat humour makes me feel right at home. If I didn't love my husband so much, I would be tempted to stalk you like an Apple Scruff.

Okay...moving right along...

One of my friends posted that link and I knew Geena would LOVE it! Well, at least she might get some inspiration.

I often make that great casserole you posted about last year, with cream of mushroom soup, artichokes etc topped with crushed chips. Served with noodles, it's a great, filling dish to have on the boat.

Re: I'm not sure I've commented here before...

Yum yum yum. Now I'm going to have to make it for dinner this week, which is good because we haven't had it in ages (too much damn julbord). :)

And I love you too.
Signed, moonbat

THANK YOU! I was hunting for which blog I'd seen De-lurking week on & it was driving me nuts! I've only visited Paper Napkin a few times, but I've enjoyed it & come out of the closet there, now, thanks to you :>) The cooking by numbers site is a great idea - everybody has to start somewhere; heck, I could still use some help in the kitchen. When I get home from work, I tend to just stand in front of the fridge for 20 min., trying to decide WTH to make (TG the hub likes to cook - though the kitchen's always a disaster after he does! But at least he goes in the kitchen with a plan of action). Love the artichokes :>)

What if you're not lurking, can you still de-lurk? ;-)

I think it's a great idea!

Well, you can de-lurk on the OTHER sites you frequent where you never comment :) But it's always nice to get comments, even so! :)

(no subject) - (Anonymous)

It's wee. I totally stole it, because it cracks me up every time she does it, and I know she laughs when she sees it elsewhere :)

(no subject) - (Anonymous)   Expand  
(no subject) - (Anonymous)

And here I thought you'd had enough of me after my spam attack commenting frenzy on your journal the other day! :P


*smacks hand to forehead* huh! Soooo that's what the directions are for!?!? Who knew?

This made me laugh in particular as I just made a pot roast with no recipe and while it came out okay, I was missing about 40 critical ingredients as usual. The carrots were abysmal... I have no idea what went wrong there. But the roasted potatoes and parsnips turned out brilliantly *pats own back*.

As a cook, I am exceedingly hit or miss. I have had many an Anne Shirley moment in the kitchen, too many to recount. Accidentally switching sugar and salt measurements is a regular occurance and makes for spectacularly awful cookies and pancakes. I once somehow added malt vinegar instead of vanilla... results, interesting. Never quite sure whether it's going to come off beautifully or heinously. One can be sure that the kitchen will be a certifiable disaster area once I'm thru though. My basic problem is I often decide at inopportune moments to get "creative" or to let my imagination take hold and wander off to for a threeway snog with my better judgement and ability to follow instructions. sigh.

And what, pray tell, is Falukorv?!! It sounds scary!

xo Wee

"Anne Shirley moments" hahahah! Yeah, I've had plenty of those myself. In fact, I had one right before Christmas when I put an entire teaspoon of salt in a cookie recipe that called for 1/4...thankfully I realized what I had done, and I quadrupled EVERYTHING immediately, but they still came out a bit strange.

Falukorv is a Swedish institution. It's a bologna-like sausage, very mild and soft.


o and ibyi... it was me, Wee, with the whist (whilst!) thing. Sort of, anyway. In the interest of full disclosure, I actually ripped it off from Otter. Actually, I didn't so much rip it off as trade it (nice and even like) for my copious use of the words "bits" and the phrase "monolithic trudge."

But I gallantly thingk the whilst (whilst!) thing should be considered public domain now!

xo Wee

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lizardek's obiter photos
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I can complain because rose bushes have thorns or rejoice because thorn bushes have roses.

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