Thursday, February 20, 2014

Cooking Is Not Always Cooking

I love to cook. I might have mentioned that before. Cooking is a process for me, a kind of yummy meditation. When I am in the zone I love to open a nearly bare fridge and make magic happen with the limited ingredients I have. Or, taking things that seem, intuitively, that they would be a good taste match and then figure out how to make it tasty.

There are some nights when my intuition completely fails me.

I am a Professional Corporate Cog. My job has it's interesting moments and it's so rapidly paced that it keeps my ferret brain active and focused, but it's also a 5o+ hour a week gig. Mondays and Tuesdays, I usually can eek out the drive and desire to make a meal when I get home, nothing super fancy, but something good. Cooking clears my head, it gets me out of Corporate Llama and helps me feel more like myself.

There are some weeks, like this one, where I leave for work in the dark and get home in the dark and the idea of having to do more than turn on the oven makes me want to cry. We don't own a microwave. I hate them. Other than for boiling water, there is nothing good or tasty about what a microwave does for food. It also keeps me from buying boxed food-flavored cardboard meals for those nights when food is a very far second in my list of priorities behind sleep or bourbon, not necessarily in that order.

My solution is to keep some oven-ready frozen food in the house, along with go-to comfort staples like Top Ramen and blue-box mac and cheese.

Last night, after getting home after 8pm, having left the house at 6am, I was starved but didn't even have the energy to abuse my bank account for the Zifty privilege. Popped a polish sausage out of the freezer, grabbed a box of mini frozen perogies (I'm a sucker for tiny foods) and a bag of spinach.

Perogies in the oven, sausage in a pan, to be followed by a little olive oil and the spinach and TA-DA foods. This is the difference for me between 'cooking' - which is a process and a joy - and "I made food hot" which is applying heat to food, most of which was created by a machine in some factory somewhere so that I injest enough calories to not starve myself.

These  two endeavors should not be mixed. If I am 'making food hot' then trying to 'cook' should be outlawed. The results are typically terrible. As is evidenced by the story below.

Perogies went in the oven. Sausage got cut up and browned on both sides. Then I made a terrible mistake. I stopped just making the spinach hot and started trying to make something that required 'cooking'.

I'm not going to go through the steps, it's really not worth it. What I put into the pan you see to your left -
raw spinach, a pan deglazed with cheap white wine, 4 cloves of roasted garlic and a whole egg chopped up. If I would have stopped at the wine and the garlic and the spinach, it would have been at least palatable.

It looked like dog food and had the visual appeal of snot. Upon tasting it also had the mouth feel of snot and tasted exactly what you think those ingredients sauteed together would. Not good is an understatement, it was absolutely inedible.

RIP perfectly good spinach and garlic and egg. I'm sorry I tried to force a relationship with you. It was never going to work for anyone.

Today, I expect that I will have a similar work day as tomorrow I have a vacation day scheduled. I make a firm promise that I will go get take out from Delia's before I torture any more perfectly unsuspecting food.

No comments:

Post a Comment