Feed Me

Monday, August 27, 2012

I love to eat. I know, I know. You're saying you love to eat, too. But I love to eat in, well, a rather epic fashion. I love the way food looks - I photograph darn near everything I eat for Instagram because I love the colors and the presentation and the delight of gazing upon a plate of food before digging in. I love the anticipation of the first bite, the dreamy way all the tastes mingle in my mouth, and knowing there will be another equally delicious bite to follow. When the waiter asks, "Did anyone leave room for dessert?" I'm the one nodding my head. I love thinking about eating. I love talking about eating. I love eating.

I do not, however, love cooking.

As a Southern woman, I thought for sure that a love for cooking would be bred - or rather breaded and deep-fried - into my DNA. My mother is a legendary cook who bakes bread from scratch and has only ever made one terrible dish and that was the stuffed cabbage when I was about 8 and bless her heart we've never let her forget it. But suffice it to say, I was never forced to chew dry lifeless chicken or unseasoned vegetables or watery soups. I grew up in a Culinary Utopia.

But apparently, my siblings took all the cooking chops before I got there. Anna can bake a cake like a boss, and Justin can grill anything that once stood on four legs, two legs or no legs to mouth-watering perfection. Me? I can boil water and add noodles.

I thought that one day, my culinary sensibilities would mature. That I would walk into the kitchen and feel inspired to chop and dice and sautee. But mostly, I feel inspired to microwave.

At my most recent doctor's visit, I discovered I had high cholesterol. And seeing as how I trained for a 5K and maintained a pretty rigorous walking schedule (until recently), I knew the culprit was my habit of skipping past my kitchen altogether and heading out to lunch and dinner at every restaurant in town. It's clogging my arteries and my waistband. Truth? I look a little like the Stay-Puft version of myself in some of my sister's wedding photos. So instead of letting you turn your proton packs on me and shower the general area with marshmallowy goodness, I'm asking you - yes, you! -  to help me learn to cook.

I know some of you would suggest that I turn this cooking deficiency into a hobby. Take a class! Read a book! Learn something new! But, let's be real. I'm just hungry. Not thrill-seeking. I have no aspirations to be The Next Iron Chef. Think Tin Foil Chef on a good day and Saran Wrap Line Cook  most other days. I would love for you to share your favorite recipes that fall into the following parameters:
  1. It must be simple. I'm not trying to become a flambe artist, so let's keep the cooking instructions basic.
  2. It must be limited. Ingredient wise. Let's say 10 ingredients or less - bonus points for less! If the ingredient list is longer than you'd want to type, it's probably more than I want to put in a bowl.
  3. It must be (relatively) healthy. While I'd love to sample your deep-fried cream cheese butter balls with chocolate and caramel dipping sauces, I'm perfectly capable of finding sinful things to put in my mouth, and hence on my hips.
  4. It must respect my time. I can watch Julia & Julia and imagine I'm going to dedicate my life to roasting the perfect cornish game hen, but I work full time and still need time for cleaning the house, paying the bills and raiding the Redbox. Cooking takes time, but I'd like to eat before it's time for the next meal. (Note: crockpot meals get a pass.)
  5. It must be something you've made before and like and can attest that I'll be unlikely to burn my house down or poison myself making. Maybe in the near future, I'll pioneer the perfect searing technique for blowfish, but for now, let's keep it in the realm of possibility.
So that's it. Five rules. I'll do my best to blog about the recipes I make - you know you'll at least get a picture.

Jesus took five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand. I'm pretty sure that's the kind of miracle it will take to feed me. Order up!


Anonymous said...

Ashley, I love this post! Here's a recipe that I enjoy. It's quick, easy and healthy: Baked Garlic Lemon Tilapia (via Skinnytaste)

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