Archive for December 19th, 2008

…would have to be yesterday. Trader Joe’s frozen biscuits. I’m always looking for new ideas on what to make in the mornings, fast, that Dee especially can eat for breakfast. She usually has no more than ten minutes (at least for Em, I can scramble an egg and make toast).

I found these biscuits, six frozen cubes in a box. They look like raw clay or some sort of construction spackle. Directions say, Heat oven to 400°F, place the squares in the middle of a lightly buttered baking sheet, place sheet in the center of the oven for ten minutes, and wa-la, fresh hot biscuits.

I was in a hurry, didn’t let the oven heat fully. The biscuits after ten minutes had started to melt from the bottom up, but after 15 minutes they resembled molten cubes, the tops still half-preserved, like small buildings partially collapsed. They tasted OK but looked not at all like something a 13-year-old girl would find appetizing. I fed her slices of a Bartlett pear instead.

I don’t have many major cooking fiasco stories. My cooking errors add up in small immeasurable bits. They hardly make a sizable hill. I don’t like to cook generally, it’s more a chore than a pleasure, and when I get into a rhythm I’m not prone to making big mistakes.

I once heard someone say that if you never miss a plane, you’re spending too much time waiting in airports. I suppose if you never have a cooking fiasco, you’re spending too much time dabbling in the kitchen and not enough time creating feasts. I dabble, except for the occasional new recipe.

Recently I tried a garlic lemony coriander chicken recipe, from India, and it was lovely, a burst of flavor. Garlic breath for days. It wasn’t terribly hard, took about an hour, maybe two. I thought, I ought to do this more often, try new recipes, but when it’s 5:30 pm and Em is asking, What’s for dinner?, I don’t have the wherewithal (not to mention fresh cilantro) to make something different.

Jim’s been cooking since I got back from Vietnam. Tonight he made a roasted chicken. Seven nights without my even thinking about what’s for dinner, and I think, I ought to go away more often. He makes it seem easy, pulls something out of the freezer and wa-la, it’s 6ish and I hear his voice, Dinner’s ready.

But I know he’ll get tired. We all do. The rotation through a pretty dull repertoire—turkey cutlets, tacos (haven’t made those in a while), roasted chicken, buffalo burgers, spaghetti, pasta puttanesca, ribs. I mean, it’s not like they’re aren’t a good number of meals to choose from, but after 365 days even 20 choices seem small.

Nowadays the challenge is to try new things and plan ahead. Today on the exercise bike at the gym I saw a recipe for shells, those jumbo type, with Italian sausage and spinach and cheese filling. I thought, I should make those. Mom always made stuffed shells, she had her repertoire too, some of which I’ve adopted, but I forgot about shells.

Kids’ll love ’em, the article said, and I did love them as a kid. Not a lot that can bomb with giant shell pasta, ricotta cheese, and sauce.


-related to Topic post: WRITING TOPIC – COOKING FIASCOS

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