Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Slow Cook(ing)

I will be the first to admit, I don't like cooking and I'm not good at it. I like eating but when it comes to the joy of the preparation, I say "meh". My dad, mother and brother are all good at meal prep. They have "skillz" and seem to revel in their creations. I have mentioned my brother before, the spice master, who is impressive in his expansive cooking repertoire. But I guess I saw cooking as a gender trap. That's kind of a lame reason to not learn but I figured if I ever became good at it, that role would be mine and I'd be stuck in the kitchen forever, The End.

Well here we are in the New World Order and somehow I have become the person who makes 99% of the dinners--mainly because Ken is tending to Sidney in the final hours before bedtime. I don't begrudge him that because it's really the only dedicated time he has with her on weeknights and I finally get a break from the 10-12 hours I've been on duty.

So the meal prep responsibilities fall to me and in light of aforementioned amateur abilities, we have frozen prepared meals at the ready. Not Hungry Man dinners, actual dinners that are awesome but frozen. We've sampled from Designed Dinners, Delicious Planet (Organic but pricey) and our current favorite Savory Moment (who also deliver said meals to the house). And the interesting thing is that they are portioned, seasoned and ready for about the same price as if we were to buy the raw ingredients at the store and prepare it ourselves.

I am also reminded of the old adage: give a person a fish, they will eat for a day or teach a person to fish, they will eat for a lifetime. In my case: give a girl a website and she'll eat for about 2 weeks or give a girl a slow cooker and she might just do something resembling cooking. And that is what happened. Austin gave us a slow cooker cookbook for Christmas and Mom got us an enormous party-size slow cooker in January. We have tried two recipes thus far. A chicken curry noodle dish when Mom was here and a Beef Barley Stew tonight. Ken called it goulash--and technically he is right but it does not sound appetizing. I called my brother just now and asked him if everything in a slow-cooker is supposed to taste "the same"--in that none of the flavors are distinct. He said, "I'm pretty sure if you eat ice cream it will be cold so when you cook something in a slow cooker, yes it's all going to taste the same." Funny guy, my brother.

I realize something else about slow cooking that is surprising--I don't like the smell of the food when it's cooking. We have a tiny house, granted, but maybe it's the volume or the manner of cooking but the smell of the food fills the house. The curry thing smelled okay as it was going but it was pungent and this last one had (among other things) paprika, ketchup, beef broth and beans--uggh it did not smell great. Tasted okay but needed some salt. The problems I have...

1 comment:

Melanie said...

I feel like you are onto something here - I feel like there is this slow-cooker "craze" that everyone lately has been trying to convince me how its the best thing ever. But the things I've tried come out with a slightly gushy texture and am I crazy or does it take twice as long to clean that crock as it would to clean a pot or two? And you are so right! It all tastes the same! Even though a few flavors might be different, the overwhelming background flavor is something that is specifically crockpot.