For my whole marriage, I have been the secondary cook. So secondary it’s really more like the relief cook. I did the Italian, and he did pretty much everything else. He’s always been very kind about it, heaping embarrassing amounts of praise on my efforts, to the point where I’ve wondered if he was poking fun at dishes that amount to “various items breaded, fried and smothered.” But he swears he’s sincere.
However, given my druthers, my idea of dinner 9 times out of 10 is “what’s quickest and easiest to clean up?” The first time I had to feed him, I took out a frozen, dump-it-in-the-skillet meat/veggies/starch all in one bag. He was a good sport about it, and only much later on did it occur to me that it’s amazing he wanted another date after that.
Now that time and circumstances have changed, I’m responsible for more of the food procurement. While a LOT of it remains the quick and easy variety, there’s one area where things have suddenly reversed: work. Also: Crock Pots.
There are many times where work has a “food thing.” Most of the time it’s a fund raiser for the employee charity fund, or the party fund or whatnot. Occasionally it’s something else, but it’s turned into a command performance, and that’s a very new thing for me.
First came the roast beef debris for po-boys for a sandwich day fundraiser. I thought this would be a safe bet, and a little outside of the norm. It was, and it smells amazing…but it was also expensive to make, and set the bar a bit high.
Yeah. That was pricey. It went over very well, tho, so that the next time I was asked if I wanted to make it again, I said that I’d think of something else. People acted disappointed, so I swore it would be just as awesome. Then I came up with a New Orleans’ style chicken and rice. It was cold, winter, and hey, it was a comfort dish that didn’t cost too much.
The problem was that it went from this:
In about half an hour. It was long gone before I even got to my lunch break- and I got no sympathy whatsoever. “Get a bigger crock pot” was the advice given, although someone else commented that “we’ll eat that, too, of course…”
By that time, Mardi Gras was coming, and I’d been a bit (okay, a lot) mopey because I wasn’t able to go home for carnival, and my social media was chock full of friends having fun. Asked what I was going to do about it, I threw my own little Fat Tuesday celebration with King Cake and Jambalaya. It went over a little too well, given that I put a freaking SIGN on the pot in the morning saying “NOT DONE COOKING. DO NOT EAT. RAW CHICKEN AND PORK!” and when I went back to stir the pot, it was already half gone.
Seriously, people? Does no one ever cook for you, that you’d be willing to risk salmonella?
I do have to admit that the food since the move has been seriously on the bland side, so maybe this is all just a cry for help.
The latest was last Friday, when I made a Cajun Porky-Mac to thank a vendor to coming in and helping me when I was slammed. Turns out word has gotten around, and even though I made special arrangements to hide the Crock Pot in a locked office, AND we were having a seperate fund raiser where you got a baked potato bar with all the fixins’ for $2, the locusts found the pot, much to my boss’ annoyance. It was only supposed to be for our department, and she’d been looking forward to leftovers the next day, but whoops! All gone. She held a small interrogation, but no one copped to it and she stayed hangry. Thankfully pork loin is cheap, so I can do that one again pretty easily.
This rather minor bit of food fame has been a little strange- not one bit of it has been Italian, my usual domain. All of it has been made up to one extent or another, and I live in fear, knowing that at some point the law of averages tells me I’ll strike out. I’ve been wondering what these Yankees would make of crawfish, but I think that might be my undoing. Also: expensive.
Truth be told, Mr. P is getting anxious about this, and is starting to want to reclaim his mantle. I once wrote up one of his recipes for Squidoo (R.I.P.), and I’ll have to see if we can convert it to a crock pot-friendly version so the cooking balance can be restored.
Until then, I’ll try to enjoy it and wield my Slap ya Mama cannister with abandon but wisdom as long as I can.