I am eating pretzels right now. Delicious, fat free Rold Golds to be exact. Remember when Jason Alexander was the spokesperson for Rold Golds? Remember when he was the spokesperson for Kentucky Fried Chicken? What is it about Jason Alexander that advertisers think screams appetizing? Baldness? Obesity? Maybe the fatwads that watch t.v. see Jason and say, “That could easily be me, my best friend, my brother or the guy at McDonald’s serving me my supersized number 6.” Whatever the case may be, Jason Alexander = food.
Speaking of food, that is what my blog is about today! If you have been keeping up with me on Facebook (and you really should be keeping up with me on Facebook), you’ll know I have really started to cultivate a, um, what would you call it? A green thumb is for gardening…a sweet tooth is for eating donuts….um….a skillet stomach? I don’t know. The point is, I’ve really gotten into cooking, like hardcore. As in I want to fuck the intangible concept of food preparation…until it whimpers in the corner and demands a towel. (By the way this post is already beating out all others for most ellipses…by I digress.)
I began my culinary adventure at the unripe age of about 10. I can’t pinpoint the age for sure as I have repressed most of my childhood due to severe trauma. But among the nightmareish memories of abuse, neglect and being forced to wear my grandmother’s summer hat, I recall preparing such culinary delights as grilled cheese sandwiches, made sometimes with mozzarella and tomato, scrambled eggs and orange nog (a putrid combination of eggs, orange juice and vanilla, the recipe for which came from a children’s cookbook written by someone who obviously reviled children).
I would like to say that I was inspired by my mother’s or father’s cooking. But that would be a lie. My father was the griller of the family, always barbecuing this or that, and oftentimes something unidentifiably in between (thit?). No matter what it was, it was always served scorched earth on the outside, mooing on the inside and tasting of lighter fluid. My mother wasn’t much better. Strapped for time and overburdened with children, she’d throw a bunch of anything into a casserole dish, plop it into the oven and then spoon it onto plates. The most popular of these dishes was a middle class, white, suburbanite take on mostaccioli, that included ground beef, noodles and Velveeta (which must be capitalized because it is proprietary cheese, invented in a laboratory by mad scientists).
This is why my culinary skills became stunted in early adulthood. I had never realized what it meant to truly cook as an adult. I was still stuck in an adolecsent state, making grill cheese and eating raw cookie dough. But recently I began experimenting in the kitchen once more, thanks to both my boyfriend’s encouragement and Real Simple magazine.
Real Simple has a ton of super easy recipes that are so basic, even a two-toed sloth could prepare them (and they only have two toes!). You have your basic grilled chickens and grilled fish and sauces and whatnot. Basically it’s elementary school for the cooking moron. And for me, it was exactly what I needed. After preparing two months worth of food using the Real Simple recipes, I broke free and began experimenting on my own, using and building upon the techniques the magazine taught me.
Now I experiment with making my own vinagrettes, like my honey/ginger/lime that I concocted myself. I made a turkey meat loaf yesterday and substituted tomato chutney for ketchup (delish!). I’ve done scallops, peanut sauce, cucumber salads, cod, mahi mahi, pork tenderloin with jerk sauce, purple potato fries, etc. I’ve gone cooking crazy, and no institution or dose of electroshock thereapy can set me sane.
But I still aspire to get better. I’m no baker, and a Thanksgiving dinner is probably beyond my abilities for now. That’s why I’m insanely jealous of my friend John, who maintains a wonderful little blog called Shallots Web. John is an amazing cook and a great writer. Weaving together fabulous narratives with interesting tidbits on food, and of course recipes, the blog is a great example of how life and food are not complimentary, but rather are one. Because for each dish or drink that John concocts, there is a story, and that makes the dish that much richer and filling. Check it out. It’s worth a read. But then come back to my blog…because you know, you love me.