The other day, I instituted one of the many changes I have vowed to at least give serious consideration to. I cooked a meal. It has been years since I turned on an oven, pulled out a pan, or read ingrdients on stained old recipe cards.
I assumed it would be a huge comic display of the stereotypical useless man deciding anyone can cook. I assumed wrong. I am sure it took longer than if my wife did it, but when it was all over, a meal from scratch, well almost from scratch - I did not make the pie crust - when it was all over, a damn fine tasting effort was the result. The bonus was I did not tear up the kitchen and leave a huge mess in my wake. I cleaned up as I went and when I sat down to eat, only one pan and the dishes we ate off of were left when we sat back with full satisfied bellies. I guess anyone can cook.
As it goes with any cook, I hoped my meal would be tasty. Tasty not to me but to my wife, who is so very quick to let her feelings be known. I served up the meat pie and waited for ................. well I guess I do not know what I was waiting for. A compliment? A small recognition of this landmark event in our years together. A small token gesture that at least I tried? I thought it tasted excellent. But all I got out of my wife was, "Yeah it was good." Minimal positive reinforcement, but at least it was positive.
Somewhat deflated after an afternoon of working with unfamilar tools, I shrugged and continued my evening. She went into her office to continue her nose to grindstone accounting work. An evening was playing out like any other evening. About an hour or so after we had eaten, she comes downstairs and looks at me and says, "That meal you cooked, it was good. Really good." She turned and went back to her office.
The recipe came from my blogging buddy over to Cthulhu's Family Restaurant. He posted a recipe for Steak and Stout pie that made my mouth water just reading it. I tried to follow it faithfully but ran into some glitches. First thing was I could not find any stout on the day I was in town looking for it. So I used a bottle of Honey Brown ale we have had in the refrigerator for months now. I did not use high end meat. We had stew meat frozen in the freezer downstairs, so I used that. And when it came time to actually cook this excellent recipe up, I had some comprehension problems with some of the directions. I anquished over whether I should cut the bacon into smaller pieces. Should I cook the bacon awhile before adding the onions? And just what constituted "2 large carrots" anyway? I wanted to remain faithful to the recipe but as I am working on this self improvement gig, anquishing is on the short list of things to rid myself of. So I winged it when I did not have the ingredients or the understanding to know what the Hell he meant.
It turned out way better than I expected. The Honey Brown ale added some zip and the stew meat became excellent from the three hours of simmering. The carrots were cooked but firm and to the delight of my wife, I did not put too many onions in. I love onions. The more the merrier. I wanted to slice up another onion, but this time I followed directions. I am glad I did. More onions would have over powered the excellent meaty ale-ee taste that resulted.
Thank You Bull.