The kitchen adventures of a clueless widower

KITCHEN MISADVENTURES

TAKE-OUT BE GONE

For years, when my wife and I lived in Miami and made good money, we ate in restaurants three or four nights a week. Dining out was a way of life. The nights we didn’t eat out, my wife would cook, and she made some good dishes.

For the past two years with my wife gone and living alone, I have survived on take-out, and prepared and frozen foods from the grocery store.

But amid the scourge of Covid I now eschew (interesting word eschew and very appropriate in this context) buying food prepared by other hands and have taken up cooking. 

Since I don’t know what the hell I’m doing, my cooking attempts are traumatic experiences in experimentation, frequently with dire results such as godawful messes from spilled pots and moments of terror from stovetop grease fires. Not to mention inedible food.

I’m not a complete dunce. I do know how to make basic meals, like bacon and eggs, grilled steak and tomatoes, spaghetti and a few others. But my linguine and clam sauce was seriously unsuccessful.

RACK ‘EM UP

MYSTERY OF THE SPICE RACK

Yesterday I made a big pot of chili with ground beef, onion, canned tomatoes and red kidney beans — a fairly easy meal but uncharted territory for me. I added the mandatory packet of McCormick’s chili seasoning mix, and salt and pepper, but the chili still turned out bland. Next time I will add other ingredients to spice it up.

My wife’s spice rack is still in the kitchen and full of wonderfully mysterious ingredients, from which she knew precisely which ones to use for each dish. I don’t know basil from rosemary (I did know a Rosemary once but that’s another story). 

One day I will write my own version of that wonderful book ‘The Joy of Cooking’ — my wife’s Bible in the kitchen. When I first set out on this treacherous road, I would have called my version ‘The Hell of Cooking.’

But now, as I boldly continue down this road, such a title would not apply. I have found that this cooking racket is good for the soul, especially in this age of isolation. And since I often invoke God’s name — as in, Oh, God, I hope this turns out all right — I’ll call it ‘Sous-chef to God.’


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12 thoughts on “The kitchen adventures of a clueless widower

  1. Hint on spices, donot be afraid to use, start out with a fingertip pinch from palm of your hand. Stir . Taste. Add more if needed.

    Thyme, rosemary, basil and oregano are great on chicken and pork. Those plus Italian seasoning in red dishes. Soy and butter are great on chicken thighs , I cook in cupcake pans. Cupcake pans are great for mini meatloafs too.

    Healthier to use himilayian salt vs table salt.

    My secret to Chili- use 1 can each of Bush red and black beans. 4 cans Hunts Mild Chili tomato sauce. 1 pk chili seasoning by McCormick. 1 pd lean hamburger. 1 chopped onion and green bell pepper. 1 teaspoon grape jelly(crazy I know) you won’t be sorry.

    Sauté on medium, hamburger onion and green pepper until meat is crumbly brown . Drain excess grease Add above ingredients into soup pot plus all can goods and 1 pk chili seasoning. stir and blend. Taste add salt pepper , bring to a boil. Then cut down to simmer (1 or 2) for 30 min. serve with sour cream, shredded cheese, scallion, tortilla chips. Enjoy. 😊

    1. Thank you for taking the time to send me your recipe, a great improvement on my modest fist attempt. That will be my next adventure.

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