Monday, November 28, 2011

The Potato Massacre

If you asked a friend or family member that’s known me for a long time to describe my skill set, cooking would not have even made the list until recently (and even then, I can’t be sure.) I have had quite a few kitchen disasters, some of which my family and friends still talk about! For all of you that think all hope is lost when it comes to making a delicious meal to be proud of you’ll see there’s hope for you yet.

Years ago, I had my own place. It was the first time I didn’t have a mother, father, brother or roommate that would cook for me. I was what you would call spoiled! My Mom or Dad always cooked when I lived at home and if they went away for the weekend, my brother loved to cook so I was well fed even when the folks were away. My Mom even brought me dinners when I worked at the convenience store down the road. I am fortunate to have so many great people in my life.
My brother catered to me so much that I could call him from my room (we had two phone lines) if I had friends over and he would bring us snacks right to my bedroom door!!! I had it made in the shade (it’s amazing I ever decided to move out!)

But I had dreams of college and independence so I trekked out on my own- but with a roommate that loved to cook. (So maybe I wasn’t quite ready to spread my full independent wings.) During this period of my life, I did very little cooking. Most of it was quick from a can or the frozen pre-cooked kind where you only had to turn on the oven. That I knew how to do!

But then a job opportunity came up where I could move closer to home but by this time I had acquired too much of my own things and was too used to living on my own to live back with my parents so I decided to get my own place.
That’s when I decided to start experimenting with actual cooking. Wanting to show off my fab skills, I invited my glorious chef of a brother over for dinner. The meal was pretty simple, chicken and mashed potatoes. The chicken wasn’t an issue, I was used to making that and all I had to do was leave it in the pan until it was no longer pink. At that point I didn’t really own spices and even if I did I wouldn’t have known what went well together.

But then there was the mashed potatoes. I was lacking in the cooking tools department so I didn’t own a potato masher. I was a problem-solver though so I thought there was a way around this. I thought about it for a bit and then decided that the closest thing I had was my blender. If I just hit the button a couple of times it would be just like the elbow grease of using a potato masher. Feeling pretty confident this would work, I poured the potatoes into the blender, added the butter and milk and I started to hit the blender button. I removed the lid when I was satisfied all the lumps were out. (My brother makes the best mashed potatoes, never any lumps!)
To my dismay, my perfectly boiled potatoes that were steps away from perfect mashed potatoes had turned into the consistency of glue! A little defeated, but I looked at the upside that I may have invented a substitution for glue if I was ever really stuck. Okay so it was a stretch but with my brother arriving any minute I had to give myself some hope that I wasn’t a total potato maker failure and that something good came out of it.

Then my brother arrived I walked him over to my blender with my potato massacre in all its glory. It was thick, gooey and sticky- Glue Company’s everywhere eat your heart out!

Taking a breath in between laughs he asked me “Why didn’t you just use a fork?”

Since then, I have had very many successful mashed potato nights with the use of a proper potato masher and now I know if I don't have one that I can use a fork. There is truth behind the saying “You’re only as good as your tools,” but I also know that you don’t have to have the exact tool you need to make things work- but it definitely helps.

My blender has never since touched a potato.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Sometimes I get Han-gry!

My husband can attest to the following, there are two things in the world that keep me happy- a full belly and plenty of sleep. When either of those get taken away I turn into a beast! And when food is specifically not available fast enough I get downright han-gry! 

Han-gry is a fabulous word I came across that pretty much sums up my relationship and attachment to food.

When I come home from work hungry and there is nothing ready or can be ready quickly, I can feel a beast growing inside me demanding nutrition. My patience weakens, my humour drops and the tone in my voice gets very sarcastic. The happy side of my brain shuts down and anger erupts! My husband can see when the beast is lurking close to the surface and he will either run to the fridge hoping something in there will satisfy my hunger or run to the closest drive-thru so that I can eat quickly. It’s not something I’m proud of, but it’s true. My first goal is that I would like to officially put my beast to rest. Food planning is within my control even if sleep soon won’t be.

As for the sleep, well the beautiful baby I will have in my arms by the end of April will be a new love of mine that will replace my current love of zzzzz’s. And if old habits die hard, I’m lucky to have such supportive family that can come over so I squeeze in a nap! I’ll be sure to trade their supportive time for a nice home-cooked dinner that they are sure to enjoy!