You would think with all the resources out there, I could show a little more variety. There is at least a half-dozen cook books in a cupboard in our kitchen. There’s a TV channel called the Food Channel. Other channels have food shows.
Morning news shows seven days a week can’t seem to resist the temptation of having a cooking segment. And don’t even get me started with the internet. Type in any food item or idea, and thousands of recipes are said to be a click away
I know where all those resources are, it’s just a manner of using them.
Due to the set-up of our schedules, I’m usually the evening meal cook at our house.
I’m home all afternoon and available to get dinner ready, much more so than my wife who works right up to the traditional dinner time.
I know that makes me the chef. Well, me and some guy name Taco John every now and then and a few of his friends, many of whom seem to end their named with “bar and grill.”
Sometimes the hardest part is simply making the decision of what will be on the menu any given night. It’s not like I have no imagination at all. Just the other night I let my wife know that we would be enjoying a unique blend of beef and pasta brought together with a smooth stroganoff sauce.
Well, OK, I could have just said, “We’re having Hamburger Helper.”
But which do you think sounds better? Most of my decisions have to revolve around the fact that I adhere to utilizing three food groups: beef, chicken and pork. Once I’ve narrowed it down from those three, I can go in any of a number of directions … tough decisions like fried, grilled or microwaved … breaded, plain, marinated or spiced up … potatoes or rice … corn or beans … salad or … who am I trying to fool, salad doesn’t get mentioned real often.
Now and then I utilize the Internet search or cookbook scan to come up with something new or original.
The thing is, some of the ingredient lists can get pretty long. I’m not even sure what all the spices and other ingredients are, let alone where to look for them in the kitchen.
The other thing you have to be careful about with other people’s recipes is the “time to complete.”
There is usually two parts: time for preparations, time for cooking. It’s the prep time that makes me feel slow.
Prep time “20 minutes,” means I’d better plan a good 45 minutes or more.
How those people who wrote the recipes are able to get things diced, sliced, mixed, blended and stirred in the time they allot is beyond me.
They must have those ginsu knives, slicers, dicers and makers of julienne fries.
It’s not like everything is pre-made or boiled.
I like to think I make a chicken fried steak that rivals any truck stop up and down the Interstate.
It’s just that you can only dip into that well so often.
You can’t go to your “A List” all the time.
Besides, when you buy beef by the quarter, you only have so many of the key tenderized steaks to make it happen.
Now that grilling season is in full swing, it opens up a few more doors. Things are simpler there.
I like to say that when I’m grilling a steak, I’m using my dad’s old family recipe: Put the meat on the grill, leave it there until it’s burned on one side, flip it over until it’s burned on the other side, serve.
Consuming Budweiser is optional, but it seemed to help him.
One other thing I’ve noticed since taking on the primary cooking role — I’m much more open to the idea of going out on a Friday night.
It’s not as if I ever resisted the idea before, but now it’s pretty much a guarantee.
Then, instead of the pressure of deciding what to fix that night, it’s the much different pressure of where to go.
And, oh look, it’s Friday. No cooking decision today.
(Fill in the blank) Bar and Grill, here I’m come.