Thursday, September 24, 2009

How I spent $50 on

I did this very grown-up thing the other day: I used my $50 Amazon birthday gift card to buy a bunch of cookbooks.

Yup, cookbooks. I haven't even told Jason yet - he'll go into hysterics when I tell him. And then he'll suggest some things I should have bought instead, things I'd actually use. You see, I am not a natural in the kitchen. I think it's mainly because I'm a picky eater who doesn't like things with too much flavor or too many ingredients. Oh, and I also hate being wet, which means that all of the veggie-handling, the washing and the slicing, is nearly intolerable to me. I hate to cook, and I stink at it.

Or do I? Come to find out, for the past four years that we've lived in this house, our oven has been broken. Some kind of heating element flake-out has been causing it to slowly lose its ability to heat properly. So all those times I tried to make the meatloaf recipe that was stuck to the ground beef package, the one that said it took 45 minutes to cook, maybe it wasn't still raw inside after 70 minutes because I Can't Cook. Maybe it was the oven's fault. (We don't need to get into why it took me FOUR YEARS to figure this out.)

Maybe, just maybe, now that Jason has fixed the oven, and now that I will be the proud owner of 9 new cookbooks in the next 10-14 business days, I can cook.

I told you that I bought a food processor. It's actually still disassembled because I couldn't figure out how to put it all together, even though they thoughtfully included a "How to Assemble Your Food Processor" diagram with labeled parts. But once I remember to ask Jason to put it together for me, I am totally going to start using it. I can't even imagine how, or to do what, but I promise you that I am going to use that thing. I bought a wide-mouth version because it says "Less pre-cutting!" in a large, jaunty font on the box. Sold!

The inspiration for that particular purchase was Noodle Mom. One night when I went over to her house for a beer, I was shocked and awed to see her nonchalantly moving zucchini muffin goop into muffin tins. Naturally I was impressed by her feat of from-scratch baking, which is the stuff of legend in my house, but then another thought occurred to me: how do you get from an oblong, whole zucchini to surprisingly unrepugnant zucchini muffin mix?

The question stuck with me, unanswered, until the day I was at Target, looking for ways to spend money in a way that could be disguised as Being A Good Wife and Mother, when I stumbled upon the wide-mouth food processor. In my mind I saw a zuccini moving in slow motion toward the plastic opening of the food processor...and it all suddenly started to make sense.

And soon I'll have the cookbooks to talk me through the finer points.

P.S. Get a load of some of the names of the books I bought - they are guaranteed to increase your heart rate and cause sweat to bead your forehead:

Desperation Dinners

The 5:30 Challenge: 5 Ingredients, 30 Minutes, Dinner on the Table

Quick Meals For Healthy Kids and Busy Families

Busy People's Super Simple 30-Minute Menus: 137 Complete Meals Timed For Success

The Frantic Woman's Guide To Life: A Year's Worth of Hints, Tips, and Tricks

Don't they make you feel like you've got to go change into running shoes? I didn't do much research on the books; I just interpreted the "busy and quick" theme as "lazy" and ran with it.


  1. oh boy! trust me, once you learn the "basics" you can make anything AND you'll feel confident in making it. i am the same way - i don't use many seasonings, i enjoy "plain" more than "saucy" but i love cooking. baking? that's a whole other train wreck.

    good luck craff.

  2. Picky eater who dislikes flavor and lots of ingredients FTW!

    (This describes my food preferences as well.)