Cheerios – It’s What’s For Dinner!

Everyone has a favorite room in their house.  A room where they can find peace, quiet, and comfort – that room is what makes a house feel like a home.  For me, my kitchen is the complete antithesis of that room.  Many people think of their kitchen as the heart of their home… well in my house, it’s more like the rectum because nothing but crap comes out of there.

They say, “If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again”, but how many times do I have to mutilate a recipe to know that maybe I should just stay the hell out of the kitchen?  Not everyone is destined to become Emeril Lagasse.

Emeril wouldn’t be smiling at me like that if he knew what I did to his ‘mighty meatloaf’ recipe.

I once made a chicken recipe that called for apple cider, which for some reason I read as cider vinegar, and the chicken ended up tasting like a batch of freshly dyed Easter eggs.  To my family’s credit, they dutifully ate it and told me how great it was.  I think they were just sick of eating chicken nuggets – the one form of chicken even I can’t screw up.

My vinegar chicken is just one example in a long line of dinners that have been burned, butchered, and botched. I have never been a good cook.  I think it’s because I don’t derive any enjoyment from working with food.  The grocery shopping, food preparations, cooking, and clean up  – I hate all of it.  Someone asking me, “What’s for dinner?” fills me with more dread than a trip to the gynecologist for my annual pap smear.

The only foods I cook well are foods that most people eat for breakfast:  scrambled eggs, omelets, pancakes, French toast, etc.  I love cooking these foods for dinner because at least then I have a shot at ending up with something edible after all my effort.  Unfortunately, my husband, Kevin, doesn’t like most traditional breakfast foods, and he likes them even less at six o’clock at night.  But when he’s working late, my kids have made the connection between his absence and the appearance of pancakes on their dinner plate.  Sometimes when they find out he won’t be home, they’ll actually cheer, “YAY, breakfast for dinner!!!”  I think they get excited because they know pancakes and broccoli don’t often mix.

But sometimes even breakfast foods aren't safe in my house.

When Kevin is home for dinner, we have gotten into the routine of eating out a lot.  So much, that the answer to the question, “What’s for dinner?” has stopped being options like chicken, fish, or beef, and is often the names of various restaurants.  Not very fiscally responsible, I know.  But when you’re hardly spending any money at the grocery store, it kind of evens out.  Okay…. not really.

The culinary world is a very confusing place for me.  There are so many kitchen gadgets on the market – slicers, dicers, mixers, and mashers…. the list is endless, and I have no idea how to work any of them.  There is also an entire language spoken in the kitchen that I’m not fluent in.  You want me to “sweat” a vegetable?  In my head, I picture an onion running on a treadmill…. but I know that’s probably not right.

I went to a “Pampered Chef” party once, and as part of the hostess’s cooking demonstration, she taught everyone how to chiffonade fresh herbs.  As fun as it was to say the word chiffonade in a cheesy French accent for the rest of the night, I was pretty sure I would never roll up leafy herbs again.… after all, I wasn’t in college anymore.

*For those of you that didn’t understand that last joke, I applaud your innocence.  For those of you that did, shame on you.

Just in case you’re like me and don’t know what the hell chiffonade means.

But as much as I hate cooking dinner, I love to watch someone else do it.  I enjoy a number of cooking shows – Rachel Ray, Top Chef, and Iron Chef are among my favorites, but I’ll watch just about anyone who knows their way around a kitchen.  Watching a skilled chef in action is as awe inspiring for me as watching someone juggling knives.  I sit with rapt attention as the chef’s hands weld these razor sharp knives at lightning speed, and all the while I’m wondering if this will be the time someone loses a finger.

Besides their precision and speed, I’m also amazed by their ability to cook several things at once, and not set anything on fire.  If I’ve got a few pots going at once, chances are, something’s going to wind up resembling (and tasting like) a charcoal briquette.

Chefs make the cooking process look so effortless, and just when you think they’re going to run out of time, they plate the meal (with all their fingers still in tact) and make it look like an edible work of art.

This is about as close as I get to edible art.

I tip my puffy, white chef’s hat to all you culinary masters out there.  Maybe someday I’ll learn to cook… but until then, I know what I’ll be making for dinner tonight – reservations.

Dinner is served!

25 thoughts on “Cheerios – It’s What’s For Dinner!

  1. My heart goes out to you for your lack of enjoyment from cooking. But I understand. I feel the same way about housework and gardening! I love reading your blog and have made it part of my daily routine. Keep up the good work. You’ve found your strength and besides you could teach your kids to cook for you. No, wait… You could get SOMEOME ELSE to teach your kids to cook! LOL!

    • Jody – LOL, yeah I’m hoping that the pathetic-chef gene skips a generation, and both of my kids will somehow learn to embrace cooking. But since most kids learn by copying what they see, I think they’re both screwed in the culinary department. 🙂

      Thanks so much for stopping by. You keep reading ’em, and I’ll keep writing ’em!

  2. Brilliant… but don’t forget about us people who like to cook but have a crew who HATES their cooking!!!

    and random…

    That’s the name of the restaurant? Tacos Guacamole? That doesn’t seem like it was well thought out… we have a bar here called The Alibi, and it’s opened for night shift people… I thought that was fabulous… just sayin…

    • Moe – You brought up a good point (that I meant to include in my blog, dammit) – when I do put out something edible, the kids gripe about it because it’s not macaroni and cheese. So, knowing that my efforts will be met with complaints rather than compliments, that hinders my desire to cook too.

      Well, that and I keep burning stuff….

      P.S. – Awesome name for a bar. 🙂

  3. Great post! I don’t mind cooking, but I hate just about everything else that is connected to running a household! My family has no idea what the drawers in the dressers are for because they keep picking their clean clothes out of the laundry basket. . . 🙂

    • Mom meets blog – LOL, that’s hysterical. I hate putting laundry away too. I find that unless I put it away the second it comes out of the dryer, it stays in neatly folded stacks for days. 🙂

      The list of dreaded household chores is kind of endless… but cooking is definitely at the top!

  4. Yes, I got the rolled herb joke, and you have completely made my day, I once thought I was a pretty good cook, but I grew up at an altitude of around 2500 feet, when I moved here to the SW, our altitude is over 7500 feet and in some places goes as high as 10,000+ I’ve mutilated more meals in 3 years than most people do in a lifetime, the first thing I learned is, do not read the directions. High altitude directions only go to about 6500 feet, there are no directions, cook books or even famous chefs for cooking at this altitude. I’ve lost count of the times poor William has asked me to please stop cooking.

    • Katrina – LOL, glad you got the herb joke. I’m sure that there are a bunch of people who will…. hopefully none of them are in my family 😉

      I can’t imagine cooking being MORE difficult than it already is, but it sounds like living at your elevation presents quite the culinary challenge. If I lived at your altitude, I think I’d end up eating nothing but breakfast cereal.

  5. 1. I adore that Mama Mason (whom I adore whole heartedly) loves your blog. She’s very very good people 🙂
    2. I love love love to cook and make bread..
    3. I am not actually very good at it, and sometimes Jarret has to look at me and go “This one didn’t work” cringe.
    lol. someday we will all win the megamillions and Emeril will stop by to make our meals! 🙂

    • Shell –

      1. I love your Mama Mason too…. it takes days for my ego to deflate back to its original size after reading one of her comments 🙂

      2. I love to eat bread. Call me and I’ll come over and eat it when you bake.

      3. I don’t care how good you are at it… in my mind, there’s no such thing as bad bread. Tell Jarret if he really wants something to cringe about, come over to my house.

      If I do ever win the lottery, hiring a chef will be one of the first things I do. But I don’t think I’ll be hiring Emeril… my house is noisy enough without someone around yelling “BAM!” all the time.

  6. I love to cook, however having kids turn up their nose at everything does make me not like it as much as I used to. The shopping however I could do without. I cannot stand the supermarket!! My favorite meal is Brinner (breakfast for dinner)!!!

    I also noticed your menu for Tacos Guacamole 🙂

    • Deb – I was just telling Moe that having a table full of ungrateful children definitely puts a damper on my desire to keep testing my culinary skills. Why bother when I know I’ll only be met with grumbles and “why can’t we just have pasta??” type comments.

      Long live BRINNER!!!

  7. I love cooking, and a kitchen eternally full of dirty pots, pans and dishes are the proof. What am I having for dinner? Let’s see, what can I make if I wash 1 pot, 2 plates and use tin foil for the oven. Your sense of humor is a riot, especially your edible art.

  8. 1) There is nothing wrong with cereal for dinner
    1a) There is nothing wrong with a mixxing bowl full of cereal for dinner

    • I have to make some updates on your points because I think you’re still operating under the same rules that we lived by in HS:

      1) There is nothing wrong with cereal for dinner IF it doesn’t start a fight with our spouse that ends with one of us sleeping on the couch, and the other with a cereal box shoved halfway down their throat (while shouts of, “you want fiber, I’ll GIVE you fiber!!” can be heard over the muffled sounds of choking).

      1a) There is nothing wrong with a mixing bowl full of cereal for dinner IF our spouse is just as stoned as we are, and they don’t glom up all the fruit loops.

  9. Love the post. I actually love to cook (that being the biggest reason my wife married me, I believe) and, even though I do follow recipes from time to time, my approach is more of “Let’s see what’s available and figure out how to combine it.” Some of the times, it’s a success and I write it down. If not, I make a note to myself never to try that again. 🙂

    • M. Darin – Thanks so much for responding!

      I think it’s great that you love to cook – your wife is a very lucky woman. My husband cooked when we were dating… but then he pulled the ol’ bait and switch after we got married 😉 That’s okay though, because his food was a recipe for a heart attack… yummy though.

      I could NEVER do the “let’s see what works” method of cooking. I’ve seen many confident cookers do that and it amazes me. I think it comes from years of experience in the kitchen… don’t think I’ll ever get there. The second my kids graduate HS I’m never cooking dinner again! Just ten more years…. 🙂

  10. we should try cooking together next time you come over. I think it would be really funny with some coronas. iliac the visuals in this blog. Very funny. the kitchen being the rectum was my favorite line.

    • Kat – So let me get this straight…. you want to get me drunk and then put me in your kitchen (near an open flame)? I don’t want any part of your insurance fraud. If you want to set your house on fire and collect the insurance money, you’ll just have to find someone else to help you. 🙂

  11. “… after all, I wasn’t in college anymore.”

    Ha! 🙂

    I love your blog. I really connect with your humor and writing style. Keep writing – I’ll be reading. 😉

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