Wednesday, April 24, 2013

My (very) unsophisticated palate

My palate is almost Neanderthal-ish in it's simplicity.  Meat,  

Scott like.

Well, maybe not quite that simple, but you get my drift.

I'm a product of my childhood.  My mom was an absolutely wonderful person.  She would give the shirt off her back to help someone....anyone.  She loved kids, and was a prolific volunteer for anything involving education.  (At the time of her passing she was a 50-year Life Member of the PTA.)  About the only thing she couldn't do was cook.*  It was an absolute mystery to her what a stove had to do with making water boil.

She couldn't cook because her mother never taught her.  That's because her mother was never taught to cook.  That's because her parents (my great-grandparents) were well off (for their time) and had people to do all those mundane chores for them that life, cleaning, washing and ironing, etc.  Food just somehow appeared on the table.  That's all they knew.

I can remember mom getting all distraught when she knew she'd pushed her luck about as far as she could getting dad to take us all out for dinner (for about the fifth evening in a row).  She was going to have to break down and....*gulp*....cook something.

With big 'ol crocodile tears in her eyes she'd lament, "Meal planning is just so stressful for me."  Then she'd retreat into the kitchen for what seemed like hours and finally emerge with a bunch of heated up corny dogs and some tater tots, all of which were frozen solid 15 minutes earlier. 

My dad used to be impressed with her chicken and dumplings *blech* until he found a can of them hidden away in the back of the pantry. (No one ever actually saw her cook anything.)

On holidays dad would buy a turkey and take it to the local barbecue house and have them smoke it us for a few cents per pound, and my grandmother would bring the cornbread dressing.  Mom made the mashed potatoes, which were just potato flakes mixed with hot milk, and for dessert we had a store-bought pie.

My point is, I wasn't raised eating gourmet foods.  I'm pretty easy to please, and my bride K can flat cook up a storm.  Lucky me!  Imagine my shock when I read on K's Facebook page that "planning dinner stresses me out".  

Oh puh-leez!  How could meal planning, especially to please me, be stressful?  It's deja va all over again.  Will my future now be endless breakfasts of mom's cinnamon/sugar powder sprinkled on bread and toasted?  And mom's specialty....her baked ball of meat?  (It vaguely resembled a meatloaf, except without any seasonings or taste.)  *shudder*

I think I'm having a flashback.  Could this be PTSD?  You think this might qualify me for one of those "close-up" parking stickers? 


*I'm not talking about mom behind her back.  She knew well her culinary shortcomings and was the first to have a good laugh about it.  :) 


  1. Generally my cooking has two moves: shake and bake.

  2. I thought that my mom was the greatest cook in the world (next to yours she might have been) what a shock when I found out what really good cooking was.

    I am not a gormet, but I do now appreciate good food.

    Mrs. C and I eat out a lot. She is 1/2 Italian, 1/2 Irish. My bad luck her Irish does the cooking and she is Italian behind the wheel of a car.

    Fun post, brought back some similar memories.

  3. My mom is a great cook although everything she cooks results in the same Mediterranean "flavor profile," a term from the Food Channel. I actually like to cook but I don't want Mrs. C. knowing about it. But I do think there are few things as satisfying as a perfectly grilled steak---sorry to my new Hindu friends.

  4. Scott says he is not picky but here is a list of things he will not eat:

    chicken wings,
    dark meat chicken of any kind
    brussel sprouts,
    hamburger helper,
    beef stroganoff,
    eggs cooked by moi,
    jerk chicken,
    my crock pot cheesy chicken recipe (said he liked it ended up he didn't have a freezer full of that stuff)
    mac n cheese out of a box
    anything with mushrooms he can see
    meat loaf

    so yeah...meal planning is a pain in the...

    But really that's all besides the point...Scott isn't a demanding sort railing every night against humanity if he doesn't get a hot meal.

    In the spring I turn all hippy dippy on him and want to eat healthier than he ever dreams of - so that's what I am doing and leaving him to his chips and dips.

    now if I could just banish the guilt I feel ;)

    1. Well, except for that Mrs. Lincoln, how was the theatre? ;)

  5. Oh, your post did bring back some memories! My mom was actually a pretty decent cook, but it was just the basics. Stuff like broccoli or eggplant were "strange" in her world and she never bought it (I never ate broccoli until I came to the States). And vegetables were to be boiled until they approached the "mush" stage. After a cooking class in high school, I brought up the idea of cooking vegetables to a tender crisp, or even eating them raw. She got mad and threatened to serve us raw potatoes if I ever critized her cooking again... :-)

    I do feel for Kelly - the cooking itself is not so bad, but the planning and shopping is the real work. And if you throw that long list of "I don't eat that" in there, it's even more difficult.

    We have a grocery store here that offers cooking classes - anything from the basic "How to boil water without burning it" to making sushi and high-falutin' French cuisine. My vote is that you check into some cooking classes and take over that chore, at least a few days a week.

  6. My mom ended up being a pretty good cook, but boy are there some hilarious stories from early in her marriage (like the one where she was peeling grapes).

    I myself don't like to cook & I'm not particularly good at it either. Mike mostly handles the real cooking in the house. But we BOTH participate in planning & neither of us likes it one bit. "Whatcha wanna eat?" "I dunno, what d'YOU wanna eat?"

  7. Scott, you'd have liked our friend Betty down in Mexico. We once went to a Oaxacan restaurant and everyone was raving about the dark, dark mole on the tamales. I tried to get Betty to taste it but she refused, saying sharply in her Arkansas accent "I don't eat black food!"

    (By the way, she was a very liberal Democrat so that was not a racist remark. She just didn't trust food that was a color she'd never seen before.)

  8. To defend myself, I do (oddly) like broccoli, and beans, and corn, and I love salads, and fruit, too. Do you have any idea how many different ways you can prepare a potato? If you can cook it on a grill, I'll eat long as it at one time walked on 4 legs, that is. ;)

    I'm just not into eating roots and bark and tofu and all those geeky healthy things. I figure I'm gonna die of something some day anyway, it might as well be something that tastes good.


  9. Oh, and I have in the past and still can cook. It doesn't bother me at all. Food snobs might turn up their noses at what I put on the table, but it will more than keep you alive and smiling.


  10. LOL! We always had "simple meals" when I was a kid too. Steak or chicken and two veg, spag bol, or sausages and mashed potatoes. That pretty much summed it up.