Friday, October 21, 2005

In Certain Circles, I Am Considered THE Foremost Authority On Microwave Popcorn

Last year around the time of my birthday, I told jasclo that next year, as a birthday present to myself, I was going to get one piece of super-nice cookware, like this. I don't want to drop that much all at once on cookware, but one piece, once a year? I think I can handle that. I can start with the essentials, then work my way up to the specialty pieces, like this. Why do I need a Dutch oven? I don't even know what you make in a Dutch oven. But it's so cute and round and apple-y looking. Don't give me a hard time.

Jasclo didn't snicker when I told her my big, fat plan, and I'm still kind of wondering why because it's no secret: I don't really cook. What in All-Clad's name am I planning to do with fancy cookware? Those giant pots are good for soaking your feet when you're doing a pedicure, I'll tell you that. I think maybe my feet would like stainless steel.

This year, I didn't get the cookware. The more I think about it, the sillier it seems. I still think I would want it, but not enough that I'm going to go out and get it. If it magically fell into my lap, that would be acceptable.

I used to really enjoy cooking, but when I lived alone and worked nights, I got away from cooking anything but macaroni and cheese. Cooking a big meal seemed like a lot of trouble to go to for just me. Then I lived with a now-ex-boyfriend for a few months, and in that time, I realized that I didn't even miss cooking all that much. When Arwen and I were roommates, we rarely cooked, unless you count mixing drinks as cooking. It's not that I'm a bad cook. I'm not great, but I can make mostly edible food. I just don't wanna, is the problem. I want someone else to make it for me, bring it to me and take it away when I'm done. If I have to make it, it had damn well better be microwaveable.

I don't like to cook, but I love to bake. When Halloween and Christmas roll around, I love to make gingerbread cookies with frosting decorations on them. Whenever there's a party, I'm all over making cookies or my world-famous sugar bombs. I made angel food cake constantly when I was a teenager, wasting hundreds of egg yolks in the process.

When the Mr. and I met, it was pretty obvious he didn't cook, either. I think maybe he can make spaghetti? But I haven't seen this yet. I do have two standard dishes that I will make now if we decide we are just too lazy to go out and get dinner: fajitas and now anything from the barbecue. Lately, he's started helping make the fajitas, and it's so funny to watch him cut onions. I think he might be reading this and possibly getting indignant, but it's true. The first time he did it might have been the first time he held a knife, from the looks of it. But they were the best-looking chopped up onions ever! The guys at Benihana are so jealous. Um, yes. I think I'm going to be making fajitas by myself again.

I remember one fairly disastrous Valentine's Day, though, in which I set out to make a big, giant dinner. This is the first and only time I attempted to make a nice meal for the two of us at home. The first problem was the grocery bill. When you don't ever cook, you don't have any of the essentials on hand, which means your bill is going to give you a small stroke when you see it. I think it came to $75 for dinner for two people, and that didn't even include the wine. See what I mean? We should have just gone out to eat.

I wanted to make a meal from one of my favorite restaurants, the Stinking Rose in San Francisco. One of my favorite dishes there is the bagna calda, which is at the top of the menu in that link. Now, I didn't buy garlic that had been peeled already. No, I decided I was going to peel it myself. For someone who doesn't like to cook, I can be oddly purist about things.

Things were going well. I had the chicken ready for cooking, the potatoes peeled, bread ready to go in the oven. But I was still not done peeling the damn garlic. I'd been peeling for an hour, and still had not even scratched the surface. I finally hauled the bowl and the cloves into the living room and told the Mr., "I need your help peeling this or we are never going to eat." We sat there, watching the last episode ever of "Cupid" and peeling, peeling, peeling. I think somewhere around 10 p.m. we finally finished, but it still needed to be cooked for 45 minutes.

At 11 p.m., 4 hours after the garlic served me, I served dinner.