Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Learning to Cook

Glen over at the Thunderbox left a comment stating he wished he knew how to cook, which put me in mind about how I first learned to cook something besides peanut butter sandwiches.  It was a real learning and growth experience, let me tell you.

My Prize Food Processor
 The girl I was dating and I had started getting a regular routine down.  We'd go out drinking and dancing, end up at my apartment, and she'd fix breakfast the next morning - generally around noon.  One day she complained that she always cooked breakfast, and this was a chore that should be shared.  Sure, why not?  That fact that I always had a Mexican breakfast during the week and had no idea how to fix anything else didn't slow me down.  After all, it couldn't be all that hard, could it?  Plus, if I cooked, she could do the dishes - a little detail I didn't mention at the time, but which I stored away for later.

So the next weekend I hit the deck and got the coffee started.  I put bread in the toaster, found the butter, and got out the bacon and eggs.  Now then... I remembered that Mom, both Grandmothers and my ex-girl friend (we broke up when she threw the propeller from an outboard motor at me and hit my car), my ex-, always cooked the bacon first.  So I turn up the flame and start roasting the bacon.  Since nothing was happening, I turned the burner up to high.

A while later I decided the bacon was done (nice and crunchy), and then I remembered that Mom always did the eggs in the same pan as the bacon, right after the bacon, you see.  By this time the bacon grease must have been close to the flash point, because when I dumped the eggs into it they cooked in about three seconds - then continued to cook.  I turned them over, not that they needed it, and served the whole business up.  I was very pleased with myself, and even remembered to turn the stove off after Linda pointed out that the bacon grease was starting to boil.

I'll give Linda credit.  She actually ate the breakfast and said it was real good - without much enthusiasm, but she got through it.  Next weekend I started cooking class, where I learned that when it comes to heat, less is a lot better than more, you can't take your eyes off the bacon or it will burn, and eggs should be cooked slowly and gently.  My second efforts were far and away better than my first, but there you have it.

After that, Linda taught me how to make white sauce, which led to several other dishes.  Then I learned how to make hollandaise sauce (eggs Benedict), and the rest is cookbooks, advice from professional chefs, and a few failed experiments.

One thing I did learn which has served me in good stead my entire life, is that women like nothing so much as a full five course meal prepared and served to them by their S.O. du jour.  That includes cleaning the kitchen afterwards.  Fancy is better than plain, nice background music is mandatory as is a properly set table with fresh cut flowers on it.  You are allowed food prep mishaps - I once ruined the main dish so badly that I just shrugged and asked her what she liked on her pizza - so we had French Onion soup, a spring mix salad, Pizza with pepperoni and double cheese, and apple pie for desert.  Eh - it happens.

These days there are some very good videos available on Youtube about cooking, but if you run into trouble with a particular dish, you can always go out to dinner at a nice restaurant and bring the recipe with you, then ask the chef for some help.  I once asked a chef to help me with a desert that I'd ruined three times, and after reading the recipe he laughed and said the reason I was having trouble was because the recipe wouldn't work.  The he fixed it.

And that's how to keep from starving to death while winning the affections of your current lady love.

1 comment:

  1. Right you are, WL. I can do eggs and bacon and burn steaks on the BBQ but if I had to do something fancy like a top flight stew or soup or pasta with veggies and such - I would be utterly screwed.

    I just may sign up for cooking lessons with Mrs. Chubster over at Retard School this fall. My only fear is that I will be good at it and pick up even more weight...