Shirley the Cook

I am not a great cook.  But I’ve been cooking for many years and in that time it’s unavoidable that I would have made a few good meals here and there. My employer thinks I’m a pretty good cook but the real secret to what I do at work is that I am scared. I’m scared I’m going to ruin the only food she has for her meal and I’ll have to thnk of something else.  Also, at work I am not distracted from cooking.  I have about an hour in the morning to prepare her supper and/or her lunch and that’s my first priority – get it done before she wakes up.  As I said she seems to think I’m good at fixing her food, but I’m not sure whether I can believe someone who has to warm everything up 10 hours later in the microwave. It’s probably not even the same stuff by then.

Tonight at home I was working on some rice (This is my second story about rice. Read “bug soup”. We don’t like each other.). All was going well with my Indian Pilaf recipe until I stopped to put away some mail.  It was such a shame to have to throw away my only cup of white rice and all those nice spices. I think the burner was just too hot.  So I started over, thinking I’d have to use brown rice. This time I only got as far as putting some oil in the pan and a little garlic, and honestly I was only gone for a blink of an eye and it was black. It has to be the burner – must be something wrong with it. I finally made yellow rice from a mix. It’s the kind that you dump in the boiling water, put the cover on and 20 minutes later it’s done. You don’t even have to look at it.

But what to go with the rice?  My personal opinion is that the hardest thing about cooking is figuring out what to cook. And since I hardly ever shop for a recipe it has to be something I already have in the fridg or the cupboard. There is always something in the fridg that should have been eaten yesterday, something that starving children in India would be happy to see on their table, if they had a table. Tonight there was half a red bell pepper, slightly slimy (I can cut that off) but still a beautiful color. I chopped that up and threw it in the pan. There were a couple chicken tenderloins from …  not real sure when those came out of the freezer, but they’re still the right color too. Color is king in my kitchen. And an onion that’s been hiding in the purple, plastic onion container – in it goes.  Ta da, chicken and rice!

The trouble with eating old food, even when you know cooking kills most bacteria, is that you are going to be a little nervous.  Nervous as you taste, nervous as you watch others taste, never knowing if it’s just the garlic or does that chicken taste a little funny?  I took some Pepto Bismol for dessert. Really, I feel fine.

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