I’ve been cooking for a while now and I’d say I can make some decent stuff. You get to take things and turn them into new (and in theory more delicious) things, so it is basically a creative process and that is always satisfying to me. Also, like many of my hobbies that I’m never really able to devote my full energy to, cooking is very much a learning process. So, here are just a few of the things I’ve learned about cooking in 2006 (yes a little late for year end lists…but hey, I just thought of this one!):
1.) Don’t put too much water in your pot roast. If you do you might as well just chuck the damn thing in a pot full of water and boil it. (I would like to take this moment to apologize to my dad for snapping at him “I know what I’m doing!” and then proceeding to “boil” the pot roast anyway over Christmas break).
2.) A soup recipe that calls for 4 quarts of broth is already a big soup recipe. If you double it just to make sure you have enough to feed everyone, you will be made fun of for cooking three pots of the same batch of soup.
3.) I don’t care what they say on Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and everywhere else, dried parsley is not a useless herb. The placebo effect of adding yet another herb to your pot of food is delicious!
4.) No matter how delicious whiskey, wine and beer are, just dumping them into your food will not necessarily guarantee delicious results. Just ask my “bourbon peach cobbler”, “red wine spaghetti sauce” and “beer soup” how popular they were. I know it can be done, I’m just not entirely sure how (I’m guessing it has something to do with the word “moderation”).
5.) Naming a dish “tuna nasty” will not make people want to eat it. Of course this is not really fair for this “recent things learned” list since I discovered this little fact years ago. But I guess I haven’t learned my lesson since I still make my famous “tuna nasty” every now and then, so it goes on the list anyway!)
6.) Google says that cream of tartar is a suitable substitute if you are out of baking powder. This is true. This does not mean that adding more cream of tartar the next time you make pancakes will make them fluffier; it will only make them inedible. As a second caution here, I wouldn’t recommend tasting the straight cream of tartar powder to see if you can figure out where the awful taste is coming from. That didn’t go so well either.
7.) I don’t care if every surface in your kitchen has cooling food or food ready to serve/cook on it; if you set that last pie on the floor you have only yourself to blame when it gets stepped on. (So once again Natalie, it wasn’t your fault!)
8.) If you have cleaned your entire kitchen and still can’t figure out where that smell is coming from, check the bag of potatoes.
9.) Don’t set your sticks of butter on the hot part of the stovetop to soften. The phone will ring, you will forget about them and you will have a lovely pool of melted butter to clean off your stove top.
10.) And to end on a positive note (and as the exception that proves the rule), it doesn’t seem possible to use “too much” garlic (though anyone that has to be around you the next day may disagree).