Tales of a Very Tired, Very Bad Cook
[Listen to an audio version of this blog here.]
I got home late, and I still needed to pack. First I needed to do laundry, so I drug my happy little ass upstairs with a fistful of quarters and a bag of soiled clothes. Glamorous.
An hour later, I was un-filling sandbags that I'd filled incorrectly, sweat puddling in the armpits of my t-shirt, a friendly neighbor stopping by to see if I was "okay." My cat needed brushing, the trashed needed to be taken out, and the laundry still wasn't done. My stomach had been grumbling for hours and all I had in my tiny fridge were 4 brown eggs, a bag of baby carrots, 3 sad oranges, and two cans of white wine. I cracked open a can of wine while folding my laundry because I am nothing if not a basic bitch.
Fold-fold, drink-drink, hum-hum. My brain gets stuck on one song at a time and for the last 5 weeks, it's been Halsey's "New Americana." There is no good (or bad) reason for this. Halfway through belting out the chorus, I heard a knock on my door. It was another neighbor, here to say hello. We chatted a bit and he asked if I wanted to order some Thai food. No, I answered, I had food I needed to eat before my trip so it wouldn't go bad. He looked at me skeptically. "What do you have?"
"Four brown eggs, baby carrots, oranges," I paused to hold up my wine can, "and wine," I answered. "Oh and bread. Frozen bread," I added.
"Sounds like you need takeout," he replied.
"Let's get dinner when I'm back," I answered. "Want a can of wine?"
"Never," he replied, taking his happy little ass back to his own outrageously-priced cubby hole of an apartment to do whatever men do with free time.
Hours after my initial hunger pain, I found myself peeling a wilted orange, wondering what to make with my eggs, carrots, and frozen bread. A stroke of genius hit me softly in my left kidney: French toast. I took my bread out of the freezer-it's worth noting that it was Ezekial bread, sprouted, no gluten, no sugar, no fat, no taste. It was also slightly freezer burned. Should I thaw it first? I decided to toast it, plopping two frozen slices in my rinky-dink toaster before heading to the bathroom to pack up my toiletries. Minutes later, I smelled something burning and returned to the kitchen to find two charred pieces of Ezekial toast waiting for me.
I threw them out, and plopped two new pieces in the toaster, lowering the temperature setting. This time, I stood over the toaster, watching and waiting until the bread was barely thawed. Genius.
I beat two eggs together, adding cinnamon, nutmeg, a dash of milk, and my last few drops of honey. I felt like the younger, hipper, less criminal version of Martha Stewart. I plunked the sort-of toast into the egg mix and plopped them in a hot fry pan. Minutes later, I had two golden slices of French toast and absolutely nothing to put on them. No butter, no peanut butter, no syrup, and no honey. I found some crusty orange marmalade in the trenches of my tiny fridge but thought it best to trash the stuff rather than ruin my perfect toast.
My dinner then, was thus: one wilted orange, half a bag of baby carrots, a can of cheap wine, and two dry pieces of French toast. Gordan Ramsey could never. Michelin stars are falling from the sky. I felt ready to nurture the offspring I don't yet have, fully equipped to take on any of life's challenges because look: I'd made a perfectly below average dinner out of almost nothing.
P.S. Watch America's Test Kitchen here, read The Art of Simple Food by Alice Waters, or buy this cookbook created specifically for the very-bad-cook.