I am not the world’s greatest cook. There, I said it. Quite frankly, I don’t have the patience or inclination to put forth the effort required to produce a five-star meal. The problem is, however, my palate yearns for a more elevated cuisine than I can muster.
I have been a rabid fan of Gordon Ramsay and his Hell’s Kitchen television show for years. This may seem a bit odd to you, since I am not all that fond of cooking. But you have to admit, the dude is kind of adorable and makes cooking look so easy! Maybe it’s all the cussing and yelling he does that inspire him and his followers to create culinary masterpieces. That being said, it doesn’t really faze or motivate me. I just like to watch. Ahem…
Recently, however, the “chef bug” bit me and I have been cooking with a new enthusiasm and exuberance. It’s kind of scary, really. I’m measuring ingredients, chopping garlic into teensy-weensy pieces, and dirtying every pot and pan in the house. My apron has never seen such action. My frig contains fresh produce and herbs, when it’s more accustomed to soured milk and containers of moldy, long-forgotten leftovers.
What brought on this sudden lapse in providing microwavable misery-on-a-plate, you ask? I blame it on the Cooking Channel. I saw a commercial for a company called Blue Apron and I was hooked. Blue Apron mails you different meals to cook, providing all the ingredients measured out and ready to incorporate into a stunning dish that draws oohs and ahhs from all your friends. Well, at least the ones who can’t cook. They will eat anything.
So I ordered my first box of Blue Apron which consisted of three different meals for two. This week it was spiced meatballs, salmon, and chicken something or other. So far, I’ve made the spiced meatballs. It took me 1.5 hours, when the recipe says 20 minutes. I had to learn to cut and smash garlic. I had to learn to pit olives. I had to learn about whisking, sautéing, braising, boiling, and a whole bunch of other cooking terms. All of a sudden, this new adventure in which I had plunged was proving to be a pain in the ass. I’m going back to delivery and dinners-in-a-bag.
Admittedly, it was a little fun in the beginning. The Blue Apron box comes with recipes printed on large laminated paper (so you can wipe off the spaghetti sauce stains and your tears, as they happen). The recipe cards also tell you how to do each little thing, just in case you’ve been living with your head under a rock, and don’t know an olive pit from a mosh pit. I was kind of disappointed to learn the difference, to tell the absolute truth.
But I pushed onward. I chopped that garlic, and I rolled out those meatballs. I made the summer squash salad with lemon juice, no pith. Yes, I learned about pith, too. My cookery vocabulary runneth over. I can talk risotto, scallions and couscous with the best of them.
But I digress. The Blue Apron experience was fun for about five minutes and then it just became work. So what did I take away from this fancy food fiasco?
- You can put the bad cook in the kitchen, but you can’t make her tasty.
No wait. Let me try that again.
- You can give the bad cook fancy cookware, but you can’t blame her when she sells it on eBay.
Dang. Okay, one more try.
- If you love your bad cook, let her go.
- If she doesn’t return, your stomach will thank you.
- If she does return, put her in handcuffs, order take-out, and watch some “Hell’s Kitchen.”
**Images from Google Images