Monday, July 18, 2011

HELP FROM THE CULINARY GODS

I am not a domestic goddess. I will not fool you or myself. Never ever have I blogged about recipes, food preparation, or tips on keeping a tidy dirt-free home. I'm not really one to speak authoritatively on such matters as these are not skills that come to me with ANY amount of ease or enjoyment. Especially the skill of cooking.
During my elementary years I was raised by a single mother (bless her!) who worked 2 jobs. Needless to say, our meals came mostly out of cans and cardboard boxes. And, honestly, I was never that child who had a desire to help out in the kitchen. My contribution was spoon-licking, and spoon-licking only. I moved in with my father when I was twelve, and as a teenager my days were WAY too full with
school, soccer, music and flailing about like a giant doofus to be bothered with the tedious process that took ingredients and turned them into the wonderful dinners my stepmother would make.
    Fast forward 20 years into the future and I haven't progressed like I thought I would. It's been a painfully slow process, this teaching myself how to cook. And it's nowhere near being over. I DO have the immense desire to become a kick-ass cook. But I'm pretty sure that's a pipe dream. So now what? Well, I've tried to keep it simple for myself, so that myself doesn't feel like a huge failure. I have three basic requirements for a recipe in order to consider it a success.

Flee's Successful Recipe Checklist (brilliant list name, Flee.)
1. It must be nutritious and healthful. I personally try to "eat clean". Look it up.
2. It's gotta be easy. It's gotta be quick. Flee has NO patience in the kitchen. And If there are too many intricate steps she will get all sweaty and flustered, start to cry, throw in the towel, and cry some more while driving to the nearest Chick-fil-a. (in that order)
3. It must taste good enough for my kids to eat it and for my husband to not pity me.
It is no easy feat accomplishing all three of these things with one recipe. But do not fret! I am a research HOUND!! I will learn and search and read and ask and poke and prod till I find the knowledge I seek. I have been on the hunt for a recipe book that would hit home runs more than it strikes out. And, I finally found one. I've had the pleasure (well, let's not get crazy) of cooking out of it for over a year now, and it has yet to let me down. My only critique is that it's not quite on the level of healthfulness that I'd like for it to be. I substitute a few ingredients here and there for healthier alternatives. But overall, this book has had much more success in the kitchen then any other I've tried, and I'm a considerably satisfied and confident cook after using it, when usually cooking and self-loathing go hand in hand 'round these parts.
If this sounds at all familiar to you (hopefully I'm not the only one…), then do yourself a flavor and check this book out at your local library. If you like it, then buy it, like I did. And if your library doesn't have it, just drop me a line, and i'll send you a recipe or 5 from it.
…oh yeah. The name and author and stuff. "The Mom's Guide to Meal Makeovers" by Janice Newell Bissex, M.S., R.D. & Liz Weiss, M.S., R.D.

Now, GO, and make your kitchen, your family's belly and your self-esteem a happier place.

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