May 21, 2007

the mystery of why it tastes like crap.

kids - it may not come as a surprise to most of you, but...i like to cook.

you name it, i like cooking it. well, except for sushi. some things are better left to the professionals.

i remember the first thing i cooked was rice krispie treats, followed quickly by chocolate chip cookies with no nuts because i no like nuts in my sweets.

(feel free to converse with my Husband on said fact. he thinks i'm out of my gourd)

at nine (or was it 10?), i cooked a Thanksgiving turkey by myself.

it must not have been too bad. i obviously survived.

but cooking is one of those things i really enjoy doing. most days.
just not cleaning up. every day.

in school, we ordered Scholastic books for our personal library. well, as much of a personal library as kids our age was gonna have. while other kids were ordering books about the Wild Things and Where They Were, i was ordering the Peanuts Sandwich Cookbook.

yep - at least 50 ways to make a peanut butter sandwich.

they had other things, too, but what i always remember about that book (which i found on eBay several years later, thankyouverymuch) was it introduced me to peanut butter & banana sammiches.

sorry, Elvis, they weren't fried. it's a cookbook for kids, for cripes sake.

yes, i lived with a southern woman, no, she never made me a fried peanut butter an' 'nanner sammich. it's one of the many ways in which i was deprived.

you can read all about it in my book "the many ways in which i was deprived as a child and still managed to not kill my baby's daddy or anyone else in my family." coming soon from Simon & Schuster.

but this book, kids...this one really opened up a door for me:

yes, the Nancy Drew Cookbook -or- Clues to Good Cooking.

they're all here: George's "Keep in Shape" Grapefruit, Twisted Candle Peach Crisp *which is really, really good, BTW*, Detective Burgers.

and each one comes with a special hint from Nancy. like with the Detective Burgers, Nancy suggests that instead of plain bread, to use English muffins, toasted potato bread or garlic bread. but! "be sure to serve parsley with the garlic bread. It's a great breath neutralizer!"

dang it all, Nancy, if i can get the burgers to cook all the way through the least of my worries is parsley.

this is where i made my first cheesecake. my first (and last) attempt at fortune cookies (some things are better bought) and soup...Sleuth Soup to be exact.
take one can beef consomme or bouillon, one consomme can tomato juice, combine in a pan and warm over low heat. take 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream and whip. pour soup into cups, place a spoonful of whipped cream on top of each and garnish with parsley flakes.

doesn't that sound yummy? OK, not really.

and in case you need a Nancy Drew mystery fix while you're fixing dinner, there's also the mini mysteries scattered throughout the book...for instance:
Late one afternoon Nancy was hurriedly called to the home of Mrs. Russo, a neighbor, to help find a valuable heirloom ring. The piece was strangely missing just before Mrs. Russo was to present it to her niece at a birthday dinner party. No one else had been in the house all day and Mrs. Russo, who had selected the ring from her jewel box that morning, was positive she had not worn it during dinner preparations.

Nancy, however, refused to overlook a single possibility (of course she didn't! that's why she's Nancy Drew!) and began to search. She figured if the woman had unknowingly dropped the ring into some food, it would have sunk to the bottom. First Nancy examined the aspic (what's aspic?)
salad, then the cream of mushroom soup. No ring! Then she looked at the blueberry muffins, still in their pan.

"If the ring's in a muffin," Nancy thought, "it would have been scooped up last, so it would be in one of the end cups."

She began to break open the muffins. No luck on one, two or three. Then she halved the fourth.

The next moment she cried out and raced up the stairs. "Mrs. Russo! The ring was in a muffin! Your gift is safe!" As Mrs. Russo thanked Nancy profusely, the girl added with a smile, "How about my whipping up another batch of muffins for your party?"

see? literature AND culinary delights. who could ask for anything more?

but one thing still bothers me. and i guess it shows how truly materialistic i am. how come Nancy finds the ring, solves the mysteries (as she does on all her cases) but never gets any rewards? and in this case, she even has to make another bloody batch of muffins?! what th'...

dang it all. i think Nancy needs me as her agent.


doodlebugmom said...

dang that Mrs Russo!

I like to cook. I get stumped on what to cook, meals are so boring around here. ho hum.

doodlebugmom said...

oh! and I love the pansies!

Valerie said...

thanks - i found those at a really crappy shopping center in Anaheim (while Brendan was busy trying to find bargains at a closing computer store)!

Anonymous said...

I despise cooking. With a passion! Course, I'm not too keen on the eating either!