I watch Food and Cooking channels a LOT. I see things on there I don't like and things on there that are very interesting. Sometimes I just shake my head in amazement.
Like this morning, Mom and I were watching Pioneer Woman and she explained how to rub softened butter on bought French bread and heat it in the oven.
Seriously?!? I've known how to butter bread since I was.... 3? 5? Not a tough skill to master.
I've blogged before about the simple fact that most people who don't like to cook raise children who cannot cook. We are raising multiple generations of people who are spending their whole paychecks on Whole Foods takeout and eating out and frozen foods. UGH.
So wrong on so many levels.
I'm going to digress for a moment and discuss the strange predilection of non-cooks for crazy fancy kitchens.
I was watching HGTV yesterday and there was a young couple searching for a house. The wife said "I want a really nice kitchen with high-end finishes, even though I don't cook." She then said she would rather have an electric stove because she once used a gas stove and set it on fire when she plopped an oven mitt down on a burner. She didn't realize gas burners involve FLAME. Someone that dense SHOULD NOT COOK. From now on, please buy takeout and eat frozen entrees - safety comes before taste buds.
The most impressive kitchen I've ever seen -- seriously spotless, every appliance looking like it had just been delivered --was in the home of a lawyer I worked for some years ago. She had a kitchen worth about as much as my home at that time. It was important for her to LOOK like she cooked, but she would freely admit she didn't cook. I mean, she didn't even know how to turn on the stove - the maid had to dust it. Boiling water would've been way beyond her. I think she could use her microwave but I wouldn't have bet any money on it.
End of digression.
I guess I am old-fashioned but I think every sentient adult human who is not mega-rich should be able to cook some basic foods.
Really, if you are in the dating world, you need to know how to cook a few things. Just basic things. You will save a LOT of money if you don't eat out all the time. Plus, cooking together is fun and sensual [as in, using the senses - get your mind out of the gutter.]
I advise beginning cooks to watch the Food network and the Cooking channel, but don't be intimidated by the professional chefs. They have all kinds of cool, expensive gadgets and exotic ingredients that puzzle the rest of us. You do NOT need a $500 mixer or a machine that squeezes your citrus fruits with a flip of a switch.
The world really needs a program for people that have no clue how to turn on the stove, and who would stare in bewilderment if told to "zest a lemon."
I could SO HOST that show! I would even curb my exasperation with non-cooks. Promise.
So here are some basic foods and how to make them. Learn them. Then when someone says "Can you cook?" say "Yes, I am learning to cook and expanding my repertoire all the time!"
At age 5, I could make tuna salad that any adult human with taste buds would enjoy. A large can of white albacore tuna, 3-4 chopped hard-boiled eggs, a few squeezes of lemon juice, Duke's mayonnaise, and liberal amounts of salt, pepper, onion powder, and Lawrey's seasoned salt. Voila.
Buy a pork roast of 1-3 lbs. I advise buying a pork tenderloin because they are more tasty and less fatty than, say, a Boston Butt. Pull out a pan with sides. Rub some olive oil on the bottom so the meat won't stick. Rinse off the meat under running water. Pat it dry with a paper towel. Take a shaker of salt and liberally COVER the pork roast with salt. If you want to be daring. also sprinkle on some onion powder, lemon pepper, garlic powder, etc. Or buy a pork rub and liberally cover it. Slap it into the pan with the side up that has the most fat on it. Put some water on the bottom of the pan - 1 or 2 cups. Put it in the oven and turn the oven on 200 degrees. Leave it for 8 hours. If you don't eat pork, you could use the same basic recipe for chicken.
Elva's Fruit Salad
Mix: 1 cup sour cream, 1/4 cup sugar, and juice of 1/2 lime until sugar is dissolved, and taste - it should be quite tart so add more lime juice if you need. Next, fold in 1 cup miniature marshmallows, and 1 lg. can mandarin oranges, drained, 1 tall can pineapple tidbits, drained, then 2 cups washed, seedless grapes. Fold fruit into the cream mix. Cover and chill til ready to serve. Just before serving , fold in 1 cup toasted walnuts, lightly salted. [spread walnuts on a baking sheet, salt them lightly, and toast at 350 for 10 minutes]
Elva’s Fabulous Salad
2-4 cloves fresh garlic
Juice of one lime or enough to make a tart dressing.Taste and add more if needed.
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 cups fresh mushrooms, washed and sliced.
½ cup Olive oil
½ cup good feta cheese, crumbled
Chop the garlic cloves fine, or use a garlic press. In a glass dish, place the mashed garlic; sprinkle with salt; mash the salt into the garlic using a fork or back of a spoon. (This releases the good flavor). Add the olive oil and lime juice. Beat with a fork or whisk. Add sliced mushrooms. Put it aside for an hour or so if you have time. Don't chill it. Meantime, wash the lettuce and put it in the fridge, or spin it and refrigerate it.
When you are almost ready to eat, tear the lettuce into bite size pieces, add the lettuce leaves and the mushrooms to the dressing. Toss everything well, from the bottom. Sprinkle the feta over the top.Don’t put any other dressing on it.
OPTIONAL: Can add : sliced scallions or cherry tomatoes.