Cooking 911

For the past week or so, I've been watching The Food Network's myriad Thanksgiving-themed shows. Racheal has shown me how to cook an entire Thanksgiving dinner in 60 (not 30) minutes. Giada taught me how to add some Italian influences to the sides that accompany the big meal a week from today. I even learned how to stick leaves from trees under my big ol' bird to make it look pretty (as if anyone would want to do that, because seriously? Ick.) from Sandra. And last night I watched four accomplished chefs compete in the Thanksgiving Food Network Challenge competition.

In watching all of these shows, it's really hit home for me the very pathetic fact that at 30 years of age, I cannot cook. As in, not at all. As in, not even a little bit. So, okay. I can make Baked Macaroni and Cheese. And I can toast a mean piece of bread. But seriously people? That's the extent of it.

Of course this is tied to the fact that I'm an extremely picky eater, and have been since I was young. I had ulcerative colitis growing up (and I have Crohn's Disease now), so food and my stomach and intestines have a bit of a checkered past. I couldn't eat a lot of vegetables growing up, since they were hard for me to digest. Same goes for spicy foods, or foods with intense flavor. So I stuck with the boring and the bland, and that carried me through to adulthood. Couple that with extremely indulgent and fantastic cooks in my family, and Sunday dinners at my great aunt's that keep Rich and I in leftovers until at least Tuesday, and you have 99% of the reason that I can't cook a complete meal to save my life.

But watching the Food Network as often as I do has really made me wish I could. The personalities make it look so easy. All that chopping and dicing with super-sharp knives? What a stress-reliever! And those gadgets-the mandolin, the garlic press, and the food processor. Fun stuff! Reading some of your amazing food blogs (Sher and Dawn, I'm looking at you) has made this desire even more strong.

And then of course there's the terrifying realization that in a little over a year, I'm going to be responsible for nourishing another human being with food that I can't produce by simply doing nothing at all. What in hell's bells am I going to do about cooking for Ella? In the short term, I want to research how to make her baby food for her, so as to avoid the preservatives and chemicals in jarred food. But in the long term? I. Am. In. Serious. Trouble.

Then again, I think I'll be pretty popular with her. Finish up your brownies and ice cream, Ella, or you won't get any dessert. And mommy made peanut butter cookies, so I better see a clean plate!

13 Responses to “Cooking 911”

  1. # Blogger M

    Hahaha! I have some really SIMPLE recipes for some really good stuff, if you would like. I'm all about simplicity. I do't really like cooking...and the clean up bites the big one. But, I can cook simple things- breaded pork chops, taco ring, baked chicken, ...etc. etc. In the spring/summer/fall we grill out a lot.
    But, my familly is coming down for thanksgiving and my mom is cooking. I couldn't make a turkey with actual stuffing (not stovetop) and homemade gravy to save my life.  

  2. # Blogger Marie

    I was the same way, Kristi! Way more into baking than cooking.

    We mostly went out to eat before the little one, so it was a huge adjustment for us to cook every night...

    Now I actually enjoy cooking. For me, having a really good knife & sharpener made a huge difference. I asked for one for Christmas a couple years ago (exciting, huh?), and we've used it almost every day since then.

    Do you have a crockpot? You know, Hubby has been cooking lately since I've been working full-time, and he loves the crock-pot cuz you just toss in a bunch of stuff, turn it on & walk away. And before you know it, wonderful aromas are coming from your kitchen. That might be a good place to start!  

  3. # Blogger Shannon

    There are some great cookbooks for fixing things for babies and toddlers... so start there... and go to the book store and look for a cookbook for you... since you have inner issues (and there are so many people now that do) there might be a special cookbook for just your issue...

    But, Marie has a great idea... crockpots rock... the fix it and forget it cookbooks are awesome!! and pretty healthy too...

    but you can do it!! I have faith in ya...  

  4. # Blogger sunShine

    Kids love baked Mac 'n cheese, just make that everyday! It is easy to steam some veggies and get a rotisserie chicken from the store. There you have a meal. My little one will eat almost any meat as long as you call it chicken.

    I have a feeling that you will do just fine.  

  5. # Blogger Caryl

    I'm way older than you and I can't cook either. Sara lived on grille cheese, chicken nuggets and Campbell's kids soups! BTW - I watch the Food channel for entertainment, only trained chefs can cook that way and make it seem easy!  

  6. # Blogger Dee Dee

    I can offer some help and advice for some easy baby food recipes that my two kids practically lived on. There two favorites: Avocado (just mix in the food processor with a little b. milk or water), freeze in ice cube trays for handy, single servings, and then mix with the bland rice and oatmeal cereals and you have a winner! Also, I made an egg, cottage cheese, and broccoli casserole that I think Rory ate for 6 months straight. He loved it, and it was great for him. Also freezes really when when cut into single-serving squares. Just let me know if you'd like some help :)  

  7. # Blogger sher

    Thank you for mentioning me!!! I have seen some wonderful food on your blog. What about your pies? And the cakes? Believe me, I think most kids would love to have simple things--and lots of mac n' cheese. Nigella Lawson has some very kid friendly recipes in How To Eat--nothing fancy at all. She knows how children really eat. And they have great cookbooks now for crock pots.  

  8. # Blogger Christine

    If you can bake you can cook easily. It's funny I'm much more into cooking than baking just because of the improv aspect of it all. But I'm sure you could make the transition easily, and baby foods are basically just cooking up things and running them through a blender with some water, juice or chicken broth, depending on what you're making.

    I have faith. Plus, there's always mac & cheese. OH and wait, were you not the one who made that fantastic looking baked egg and veggie concoction for a brunch not all that long ago, I'm sure it was you. You're totally there, you just need some good recipes.  

  9. # Blogger Clare Eats

    Cooking isn't that hard!
    Why not get the relos to give you some cooking tips? It takes awhile to become proficient with a knife but if you cook every day it wont take that long. Definately a great sharp knife makes a HUGE difference. You need a nice thin blade to cut thin slices and a nice big knife is much easier to wield.

    A book that I have said that the best way to make baby cereals is with a thermos. You heat the thermos up and put in some cereal and add hot water and put it on its side. Then leave it overnight and you have cereal ready in the morning! I always thought that sounded good.

    But seriously cooking is just like baking, if you can follow a recipe to make a cake you can do the same thing to make dinner :)  

  10. # Blogger The Princess

    Camille is now on finger foods and I too don't want to feed her "bad foods" and so far, so good. When she was on baby food, if I had to buy it, I would opt for the Gerber Organic. But I ended up making everything for her. I would buy a bag of frozen peas, some fresh carrotts and squash. I would microwave them until they were soft and then puree them. I originally had a baby food grinder but found it didn't do a good job. We purchased the Magic Bullet (yes, as seen on TV) from Linens and Things and it's been awesome!

    FYI: When you start yogurt, the YoBaby has almost 16g of sugar which is A LOT so I buy plain yogurt, puree fruit and mix it up with a pinch of sugar just to sweet it up a little.

    Also? Frozen and canned vege's have the same nutritional value as fresh and sometimes more b/c you don't know exactly how old the fresh veges are.

    Good luck...I'm here if you need me!  

  11. # Blogger The Princess

    One more thing....I did the same thing with fruit. I would buy apples/pears/banana and microwave and puree!

    Once Camille got a little older, I would buy whole wheat pasta and puree it with the vege's.  

  12. # Blogger Kristi

    M-I'd love them! Email them to me. The taco ring sounds like something my husband would love. Thank you!

    Marie-We do have a crockpot. Problem is, I'm so picky, I'm not sure there's much I would eat using it. Rich, though, loves crockpot stuff. If you have any good recipes, I'd love them.

    Shannon-Yeah, I have to hit the bookstore one of these days. I definitely need all the help I can get.

    Sunshine-I really hope Ella likes chicken, because that's about the only meat I eat, besides turkey.

    Caryl-I know. But they still make me feel like I should be at least trying to cook1

    Dianne-Awesome. I definitely want to chat with you about this. Thank you!

    Sher-You're an awesome cook (and food photographer). I only bake, and can't take good food photos to save my life! I love Nigella. I have her How to be a Domestic Goddess and I love it. I'll have to check out the book you mentioned.

    Christine-Thank god I can work a blender. And yeah, I made that stuff, but that's about ALL I can make!

    Clare-You're back! Wait, are you really back? Do you have a new blog? I love that thermos idea. When Ella can eat cereal, I'll definitely try that, since it sounds hard to ruin.

    Princess-Wow, these are all great tips, especially the yogurt one. And I've seen The Magic Buller, and always thought it looked cool. Now I know it looks cool, AND has a useful purpose. I'll definitely be picking your brain for some help in about 2 months when Ella starts on solids.  

  13. # Anonymous Anonymous

    I've found a great therapy for relieving Crohn's systems and pain; check out my blog here:  

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