Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Adult World: Raw Meat and Other Enemies

First of all, deepest apologies are in order for not blogging for so fucking long. My co-author and I are very sorry. Weirdly enough our lives have not had that much to report apart form paralyzing self-doubt as we inch closer and closer to the real adulthood cliff. Being 18 does not count as adulthood. Graduating of college does...kind of.

This summer I am interning in Washington D.C.

This means that I am in an apartment with 5 other girls (which is a totally other story), waking up at 7:15 every morning,

and heading to work by 9am in scorching heat and humidity. It also means that my mother is not around to cook for me, which is bullshit. I'm just supposed to cook for myself now!?

I thought that cooking would be easy. I've watched my mother do it for years; I've even helped her prepare dinner. I quickly learned that I was fucking wrong. Cooking is hard and because I'm not good at it, it is also stupid.

I will now describe my brief foray into the culinary arts, learning with crushing disappointment that I will never be as wonderful as Julia Child.

Meryl is disappointed in me

Now the first thing I tried to cook was quite simple. Chicken. Pasta. Asparagus. All of it baked together with cheese. 

It was a simple, Pinterest recipe which is essentially a unicorn in it of itself. Yeah the picture looks delicious but it has 20 ingredients that you'll never ever use again in any recipe ever and has about 30-93 steps.  This recipe seemed just rookie enough to suit me. However, I don't know if any of you know this, but raw chicken is disgusting. It is like having solidified yet still slimy snot in your hands. Sorry I'm not sorry for that analogy which probably just ruined chicken for you.

So I'm dethawing this chicken, and my mother told me to do it in the sink with warm water but that takes a long time. Certainly too long for my patience because I started cooking when I was already hungry...and I'd gotten off of work which at the time was an 8 hour day of clicking buttons on a computer screen.

So the chicken's in the microwave and it starts to smell funky...because naturally it's kind of cooking because no matter what the microwave says, the dethaw feature will of course begin to cook your chicken. God Dammit why? Nonetheless, I get the chicken dethawed to my satisfaction, cutting off the weird semi-cooked parts, and kind of gagging at the smell. I put some olive oil in a pan and put my chicken in there, not at all anticipating the reaction of the chicken and oil. Immediate sizzle, kind of burning my arm and coating our stove with a small layer of grease.

Meanwhile I'm boiling water to cook my pasta in, which I can actually do.

I put the frozen asparagus in the microwave because it came in one of those cool steamer things (note: these are good for peas NOT asparagus), and the chicken has cooked up nicely. I think I'm ready to bake. I think that things are going to go smoothly now. How hilarious. I throw my concoction in the oven after following Pinterest's deceptively simple directions, pop it out of the oven and I'm ready to fucking attack my food that has required me to dirty approximately 500 different bowls and plates and pans to produce.

And then I think to myself...remember how gross that chicken smelled? What if it's still kind of raw? Sure you essentially dissected each piece of meat in the pan while cooking but what if...could you ever get over biting into raw chicken. The answer to that is a decided no. I begin picking around the chicken enjoying a meal that is decidedly bland. Mother fucker.

We'll skip over the time I made stuffed peppers that were also kind of bland (I should have used taco seasoning in the ground beef), and led me to purchase some hot sauce which is still sitting, unused in my fridge, and move on to the time when I tried to make a burger. What miserable failure that was.

My apartment complex has a roof. With a pool.

It also has a plethora of grills up there and as it is summer, people utilize these grills, creating a plethora of wonderful smells. These smells give me a near constant desire for grilled burgers and chicken. This particular day I think to myself that I will go and buy a burger later for dinner, but then I remember that I have ground beef, I have cheese, and everything else I really need to make a burger. Let's do this!

I call my father and make him walk me through turning on the grill after I've dethawed my ground beef (an ordeal..again with that smell) and head up to the roof feeling like a champion. I even Instagram a picture of me grilling on the roof I'm so confident in myself.

You'll notice that the burgers aren't on the grill yet--here explains my over confidence. Again, I've watched my dad cook burgers and it just doesn't look that hard. I place my burgers on the grill, call a friend and prepare to leisurely wait. 

Disaster strikes when I attempt to flip the first burger; it kind of falls does the other one. No matter, my dad told me to just leave them on the grill a bit longer when they do this. They'll harden up. I've got this shit. 

Now I'm watching my burgers carefully and slowly realizing that they're just not looking right. They're grey, and not overcooked grey. They look kind of mushy and grey. I know that that's wrong. In a panic, I throw them out, choosing to instead walk 30 minutes to Good Stuff Eatery (if you're ever in D.C. GO THERE, ITS DELICIOUS)

I call my mother on the way and do the mature thing, blaming her for my cooking ineptitude. "I'll never be a housewife. I can't cook and I have no interest in cleaning." She counters by asking what I'll do if I have children. I tell her that none other than my co-author will just have to move in with us. My mother points out that my husband may not be keen on that. "Of course he will, that's how I'll know I should marry him," I tell her. I mean really.

Once at Good Stuff, I'm paralyzed with self doubt. I have no idea what I want. There are so many versions of burgers. I turn to let the person behind me go, seeing that he is in fact a congressman. He orders smoothly, turning back to me who is still staring, essentially drooling at the menu.

"You know, I could just order for you," he says in good-humor.

"Oh no," I say, my awkward laugh having a shining moment. I quickly step up and order a simple burger and coke.

Jesus, whoever thought that growing up and doing things for yourself was easy is a fucking liar. No wonder Carrie Bradshaw and her friends are literally never eating at their own homes. None of them cook, ever. Charlotte might...MIGHT. I resign myself to a life of cheese and crackers like God intended.

Do any of you have good cooking stories or even better, tips? Let us know!

P.S. sorry again for the blogging absence...I'm sure you all just carried on about your day like this never existed but we'll try harder to make you emotionally dependent upon us forever.

1 comment:

  1. Ohhhh Audrey... So many thoughts.

    First of all - your mother's cooking is impossibly hard to live up to, and that's not really fair to you. I mean, literally, what I would do for her lasagna right now. I know it's 9:30am, but do you think I care about cultural norms when I'm thinking about your mother's lasagna!?

    More importantly, though - you should know that my cooking experiences since moving out of my parent's house last summer is very similar. My main issue, I think, is that I just don't ever have the desire to cook. So, when I finally find the motivation to make something that didn't come in a bag from the frozen section of Wegman's, I'm terrible at it because I've never cooked it, never used the ingredients that I need, never practiced the techniques, and NEVER know what ANYTHING is supposed to look like when done correctly.

    There's a simple solution for people like you and I: stop cooking immediately. Give up. Revisit the idea in 4-6 years, and when that fails, accept the fact that you'll marry someone who was born with a whisk in hand.

    Holy shit - whisks aren't even used to cook anything... it's just a baking tool!