What’s cookin’?

29 Mar

This is an understatement every time I use the phrase, but I am not a “typical” farmer’s wife.

One of the ways that I’m atypical—at least if we’re talking about stereotypes—is that I have little to no cooking ability. Literally; it’s sad sometimes. The Dairy Man taught me how to make scrambled eggs. Before we were married I ate a steady diet of grilled cheese, macaroni, Hamburger Helper, bagels, and baby carrots (for health purposes, of course).

When we got married, it was a proverbial game of chicken to see which one of us would do the cooking. We have equal levels of cooking ability, but unfortunately I also have more time on my hands. I get home at 6:30/7 and he gets home at 8/9. Tragically, the task of preparing dinner falls to he/she who sets foot in the house first.

So that’s how I starting doing the cooking.

The Dairy Man and I have been married for seven months and have survived happily on tacos and Bertoli or P.F. Chang frozen dinners. As the one who lost our cooking game of chicken, I’m thankful for this. When I get home from my 80 minute commute, I’m tired, cranky, and agitated (from the road rage; but that’s another story). The last thing in the world I feel like doing is learning how to cook. I face three hurdles:

  1. I have zero natural ability for cooking. It takes me forever to make something because I have to stop to Google words like “mince” or “sauté.” I have to read the recipe with a fine tooth comb or I might accidentally make 10 lbs. of shredded chicken because the recipe called for six chicken breast HALVES, not six chicken breasts (not that I’m speaking from experience…).
  2. Whenever I want to make something that isn’t from a box, I have to stop at the store on the way home because we NEVER have any of the ingredients I need (and then it takes me 20 minutes and two grocery store employees to find red pepper flakes).
  3. Thanks to my work to home distance, it’s impossible for me to get home before 6:30. Throw in a trip to the store, prep time, and the time it takes for something to actually cook and it’s almost my bedtime (10).

These reasons explain why I haven’t picked up a pork chop in seven months of adult living. But. Those Bertoli dinners are all starting to taste the same. Dinner is always something rushed, something edible but not delicious. Say what you will about feminism and resisting conformity, but I’m starting to feel like a bad wife. Not because the woman should do the cooking, but because this woman just happens to have more time than her Dairy Man. And shhh, don’t tell: I am sick of frozen dinners.

The best way to learn is to do. So I’m going to start doing. My attempts may be an affront to all things edible, but I have to start somewhere.

Last night I started with pineapple glazed pork chops with brown rice and asparagus. It was invigorating. The Dairy Man was thrilled and I was puffed up with pride. Though yes, I did have to Google “how do you know when a pork chop is done?”

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8 Responses to “What’s cookin’?”

  1. Mandy Bareman 03/29/2011 at 8:44 pm #

    nice! looks delicious.

  2. Kristin Vanderlaan 03/30/2011 at 6:07 pm #

    I LOVE YOUR BLOG!! Cooking isn’t one of my favorite things to do either even after almost 13 years of marriage, but it does feel satisfying when your man comes in the door and says, “something smells really good!!”. even if it took you two hours to make it and 5 minutes to eat, it’s still satisfying that you made him happy. I’m starting to understand that a little more now. it took some time, but i’m finally getting it!!! love ya jess!!

  3. Leslie 03/31/2011 at 10:42 am #

    The crock pot is your friend. I would suggest gathering a bunch of crock pot recipes, finding a couple favorites and keeping the ingredients for those on hand when you can (often it’s frozen veggies, beef/chicken stock, potatoes—things that won’t spoil fast, and all you have to do is add the meat).

    Throw everything in the ceramic part of the crock pot at night, cover and toss it in the fridge. In the morning, get it out, put it in the thing that heats it up and pop the lid on, turn it on low and let everything cook itself while you’re at work. I suggest to always cook on low since you’re gone quite a while with a long commute.

    Not only does the crock pot do everything for you, but it’s ready right when you get home and there are often left overs you can stuff in the fridge so when Kyle gets home you can just tell him to heat some up and it’ll be delicious. Then you can take some to work for lunch the next day!

    We do this with a few types of soup, roast beef and pork tenderloin (toss roast beef or pork tenderloin in with some chicken or beef stock, potatoes, carrots, onions, a little pepper and you won’t be able to stay away from it when you walk in the door). The awesome thing is you can easily play with these things without ruining them. Last time we made roast beef we added in a can of diced tomatoes.

    Hope that helps!

  4. katieeee 03/31/2011 at 3:09 pm #

    So I was watching Dr. Oz and he had the “cheapest, tastiest, healthiest” recipe, and thus:

    Chicken Roll Ups

    Ingredients Makes 2-4 servings 1 (1/4 lb) of chicken breast, sliced thin 4 slices of low-salt, low-fat lean ham 4 slices of fat free/low-sodium swiss…

    Pretty delicioso, not gonna lie. I went through the, “Am I going to give everyone salmonella?” moment, then realized as long as the chicken’s not pink, should be fine. Note: When you cut into one to check its pinkness, there is ham right underneath there, so don’t be fooled – ham is pink. Also, the thing they are talking about cereal wise is Total cereal, which does not need this “food processor,” but merely to be crushed in a bowl by a bottle of vodka or soy sauce.

    Also, we put in roasted asparagus (which i learned how to roast via google). Recommended. Yay beginning cookers!

  5. katieeee 03/31/2011 at 3:10 pm #

    Shoot. I can’t copy script very good, so I’ll just send you a link.

    http://www.doctoroz.com/videos/chicken-roll-ups

  6. Paul Kratochwill 06/23/2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Looks yummy! I hope you enjoy your future cooking adventures.

  7. Mieke Bouwkamp 05/31/2012 at 11:40 am #

    Jess, my cooking lifesaver comes from thepioneerwoman.com. She has SO MANY recipes online, AND they have pictures to go along with every step!! Plus, she is a city loving girl gone country as well :)

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. Where dreams and dairy cows coincide « Modern Farm Wife - 05/16/2012

    [...] put food on the table and give me a modicum of self-respect. I found a job with people I liked. I learned to cook, loved on my dog, and fixed up our old farmhouse. I knew that my creativity was most likely going [...]

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