Tag Archives: cooking

Sub Jobs And Boiled Cabbage

Sub jobs are like dates: your phone is either ringing incessantly or you are tempted to buy a new battery “just in case this one isn’t working anymore.”  It seems like there is never a steady, manageable current.

I was truly disappointed that I didn’t have a job today.  My hair looks really good, which is unusual and I kind of wanted to take advantage of the occasion by making a public appearance. 

Yesterday, in lieu of a job, I emailed editors, lined up interview subjects, finished stories, copied down some parables from the book of Matthew, went to the bank, and read a 244-page book.  That Ann Leary can write!  I spent the afternoon in London in 1990, and now I know more about premature babies, the socialist British medical system, amateur comedians, and Mrs. Leary’s mother than the average Elko County resident. 

I also spent a fair amount of time contemplating the crock pot.  For you uneducated cooks, a crock pot is a wonderful device that, when food of any kind and any amount is placed inside its cavernous bowl in the morning, will produce a delightfully aromatic and tasty feast by suppertime.  You could pretty much insert an old tennis shoe into a CP, add a cup of beef broth, chop up some celery, sprinkle the whole thing with Lowry’s seasoned salt, and half the neighborhood will crowd into your house at six o’clock with their eyes closed and noses uplifted because “I smelled something delicious from down the street!”

When I first moved in with Allie, she would make a big CP full of something yummy and encourage me to help myself.  I barely knew her, so I politely ate one bowl the first night and then politely refrained from eating the leftovers.  I didn’t want to be a mooch.  After a couple rounds of this, which always ended with a mostly-full CP full of savory beef stew, pork roast, or chicken noodle soup being tossed into the garbage, I changed my tactic.

Now, I view the crock pot as a personal challenge.  Can I singlehandedly eat an entire CP full of food before it goes bad?  Allie seems to enjoy making large amounts of delicious food, but I have no idea what she eats, because it isn’t that.  It is up to me and me alone to defeat the crock pot. 

I ate roast for one week straight, then planned to roast a chicken.  Allie beat me to it: she put another beef roast into the CP.  Another week of roast.  I only left a ladleful of shredded muscle fibers (really, that’s what beef is), green beans and carrots in the bottom of the bowl.  Now I will get my chicken!

Saint Patrick’s Day got me first.  I have been eating boiled cabbage (I’ve given up on the corned beef) every day since last Thursday.  Today is the last day.  I can taste victory.  It tastes like brine.

While you are working today, think of me and my great hair sitting at home.  I’ll be eating boiled cabbage.

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Can Openers, Buttons, And Cherries

I have decided to take up cooking for sport and sustenance, mainly because if I eat another bagged salad with chopped lunchmeat and call it supper I am going to scream. 

Right now, I have three staple recipes.  The first one can be adapted for a variety of meals.  It involes two simple ingredients: a jar of                        (peanut butter/dill pickles/peach jelly/marshmallow creme/applesauce/cocktail onions/etc.) and a spoon.  I won’t insult my readers’ intelligence by writing instructions, but remember to remove the lid first. 

If you find you cannot remove the lid due to no fault of your own except lack of physical strength, don’t be afraid to ask for help.  Meet the neighbors.  Phone a friend.  Don’t suffer alone.

Recipe #2 involves the rare times when I am feeling mechanical and decide to whip out the ol’ can opener.  I never use the electric kind, because they frighten me.  Old-fashioned hand-crank can openers are good enough for me (in this case, “good enough” means “simple enough”).  The how-to-eat steps are basically the same as Recipe #1, except you generally wind up eating stewed tomatoes, canned green beans, chili, enchilada sauce or pickled beets. 

All right, Recipe #3!  Are you ready?  I can feel the excitement emanating through the computer screen.  This one involves spices, so you know it’s good.

Step #1: (See how I’m not telling you what it is you’re actually making?  This adds a level of suspense usually not seen in cooking.) 

Okay, Step #1:  Fill coffee maker water holder with water.  Step #2:  Fill coffee maker filter with ground coffee.  Step #3:  Add a liberal (don’t tell the Republicans) dash or six of ground cinnamon.  Step #4:  Push the button.

Don’t forget Step #4, or you will take your morning shower, revive the fire in the wood stove, turn on the news, and go “Arrrrgggghhhh!” when you realize you forgot to push the button. 

Step #5:  Double check to make sure you pushed the button. 

In an effort to advance my culinary skills past can-opening and button-pushing, I sat down with some cookbooks I found buried in the back of a cupboard today.  One was published in the 1950s, and I learned all kinds of cool stuff!  Mainly, people used a lot of gelatine back then.  It was in everything!  Fruit salads, vegetable salads, desserts, wallpaper glue. 

I discovered you can make baked “fried” chicken in the oven with potato chips and butter.  Sweet!  I love potato chips.  I want to try corn salad, which I’ve never even heard of.  This could be fun.

I just hope there aren’t any brand-new jars to open.  It’s one thing to be defeated by a too-tight wire gate, but inability to open a jar of marshiano cherries is just embarrassing.  And likely to happen 🙂

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Eat To Live

It’s been said that there are two types of people: those who eat to live and those who live to eat.  As I sat in my pickup today eating a cold baked sweet potato and two hardboiled eggs for lunch, I realized I am definitely an eat-to-live kind of person.

I walk into a western store and deeply inhale the aroma of boot and saddle leather.  I rein in my horse to admire a colorful sunset.  I kiss with my eyes closed.  I eat so my stomach will stop growling.  The consumption of food is not a particularly sensational experience for me.

Everyone from weight-loss experts to gourmet cooks advise us to “light a few candles, set the table, take time to sit down and enjoy your freshly prepared meal.”  Why in the world would I waste a match so I can eat a corn tortilla slathered with peanut butter and jelly in a half-lit room? 

I guess I’m lucky, in a way.  I can’t tell the difference between Seattle’s Best and Great Value coffee, my idea of meat in a meal is roast beef lunchmeat, and I can happily subsist on hot cereal twice a day.  I have to eat something else for the third meal, or I’ll get burned out on oatmeal pretty quickly.

I’m a fair breakfast cook, because I believe going to work on an empty stomach is un-American.  I’m happy to whip up a sauge and cheese omlette, percolate coffee, fry bacon and slice melon.  After working for Ty Van Norman, who considers lunch an unecessary luxury and generally omits it from his daily agenda, I found myself pretty well weaned from requiring a noonday meal.  I can take it or leave it.  I prefer to take it, but I don’t suffer overly much in its absence. 

As a result, I am usually ready to eat my hand by suppertime, and I certainly don’t feel like steaming spinach and cutting lasagna noodles, much less lighting candles and laying out flatware.  I’m ripping granola bars out of their packages and slicing cheddar cheese with my pocketknife. 

I sure do appreciate those in the live-to-eat camp, though.  My college roommate and dear friend, Theo, and I liked to throw big dinner parties.  She’s an excellent cook, so she’d direct the operations in the kitchen and I’d drink wine and stir things.  I might have better luck finding a husband if I took a few cues from Theo.  At least I like to clean.  My floors are clean enough to eat off, if only there was anything to eat 🙂

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