Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Ladies and Gentlemen, I'm NOT a cook.

As you know, I'm on this quest to figure out who I am, what I like, what makes me tick, what my passions are, etc. If you're not sure what I'm referring to, read this post. Lately I've realized something about myself. The real me. And while it's good to know who you are, I'm a little disappointed. You see, I've always thought of myself as a cook. (Some of you, like Josh, are probably laughing right now.) Or I guess I liked the idea of being a cook. But looking back, there really isn't an underlying theme of recipes, food network, or williams-sonoma splurges threaded throughout my life.

My mom cooked growing up. I'm just not sure how I missed out on that whole experience. In college, I mainly stuck to frozen skillet dinners or Taco Cabana runs. I guess I've always thought my inner cook would come out in the next stage in life. I thought, for sure, once I'm married I'll be cook ready. And I did cook some for Josh, but he is so easy to please that lots of times we'd just eat cereal and peanut butter sandwiches for dinner. Then I thought it was just my tiny apartment kitchen. When I get into our house, I'll have all the space and real equipment I'll need to bust out my cooking skills. But we got in our house and, although I love our kitchen, I still lacked initiative. I was too tired after working all day to slave away my last ounce of energy on a hot meal. As soon as I'm a stay at home mom, I'll have all day to cook. Well, folks, here I am before you as a stay at home mom saying it still ain't happenin'!

{Sidenote: [this is where I defend myself because of my pride- I know it's wrong.] There have been a few recipes that I've mastered over the years. However, it takes me at least 2 or 3 times usually before I can get it right. Ah, take the brisket for example. One of my mother-in-laws, Janie, has a great brisket recipe which she gave me when we got married. One afternoon I felt adventurous and thought I'd give it a try. I followed the recipe to a tee. Since the brisket has to cook overnight, I prepared everything just before bed and slid it into the oven at 200F. I remember waking up several times during the night and enjoying the aroma of that brisket. It smelled so good. That is until about 6am or so when I awoke to a burning smell. I rushed to the oven to rescue my masterpiece. I almost cried at the sight of it. My poor brisket was charred and in no condition to be eaten. Later as I told my mom of the injustice, I found out that I should have covered the brisket with foil before putting it in the oven. Apparently, that's what you do, even if the recipe doesn't say so. Lesson learned.}

I'm sure part of it has to do with my personality. I'm not the best planner. I can usually do pretty well flying by the seat of my pants, so that's what I do, sometimes to a fault. I hit the grocery store on a whim and try to remember everything that was on my list that I left on the counter. But even after a grocery run, I feel like: what did I buy? We still don't have anything to make a meal out of. There have been those few golden phases where I sat down with recipes and planned out my week of shopping and cooking. I just can't seem to keep it up. But putting dinner on the table is a major part of my responsibilty as the homemaker, so I've got to figure something out.

And maybe I did! Last night, I went to the Dinner Station for the first time. Wow. That place was made for people like me. Are you familiar with the concept? You sign up for a session and pick several dinners from a menu. When you show up, you're handed a list of your meals and shown where your meat is being kept in your area of the fridge. The room is divided up into three giant stations. Each station contains all of the ingredients for about 5 meals. You find which meal you're making and follow the directions for packing it up into a giant freezer bag. You take it home to the freezer or fridge and when it's dinnertime: Voila! You follow the instructions on the baggie and have a meal in no time. I prepared about 8 meals last night in about 1 1/2 hours. It just simplifies things. Last night, after I got home, I made the shrimp and pasta dish which tasted great and was easy! Maybe this is my answer. We'll see. Josh seems to be on board. I guess he's on board with anything as long as he gets to eat.

8 comments:

LeRay said...

The dinner station sounds fun, i have thought about doing that before but haven't. It's hard to please everyone's palate in my household. We are pretty boring: meat, chicken, pasta, repeat!

Kristyn said...

nat - jason said that dinner was delicious!! thanks for including him in y'alls dinner plans, and for the great dinner idea. I'll have to check it out!

olivia and henry said...

natalie, you are funny!!!! you should come over one day, and we can talk through several meal plans, and even maybe make a few! i love to cook, and would have so much fun showin' you the ropes! ;)
keep writing! your posts are so fun to read!
ang

Them Chandlers said...

Nat, we have more in common than I realized!! I think we were separated at birth... :) I'm going to try the Dinner Station...maybe we can go together!

Summy V & DawnyT said...

Nat, I am going to refute this post and say I see a cook in you! don't give up!!!

Andrea Bowman said...

nat...you don't ruin everything your first time! that pie you made was good...i mean the crust was kinda falling off...but it tasted great!

AngJoyB said...

Awesome... I want to go to the dinner station... I love that you are learning your way of cooking. I think we all have our own way. That is probably why most cooks would prefer to go at it alone. Know that I am always available to make a dish for the fam. My love.

AngJoyB said...

And where is Tiger's blog... I need to see some pictures and some deep thoughts.