My cooking skills have been sort of the joke of the family for years now, ever since my grown up boys were weaned off Gerber and tried Mother's first homemade meal.
"Ptooey!" they would say, and spit it across the room. No I am just kidding. It wasn't that bad, but there were times when my cooking was a close call. I remember making brownies one time, a solidified brick, that ended up serving as a foundation cornerstone of our new home. Wish I would have saved it to donate to the military as a secret weapon of mass destruction.
Then there was my ham glaze, which my sons still remember lovingly. I made a ham glaze and it did not seem to be thickening so I dumped a huge amount of cornstarch into it. Not only did it thicken up, it got up and walked away from the plate, looking for trouble. Jeff and Cory described it as Primordial Ooze.
My latest conquest was the Crock Pot. I had a Crock Pot years ago, when first married. We made all kinds of good dinners in it, no problems. Now that I have decided to go Crock Pot again, against my husband's better judgment, I bought a new Crock Pot.
You see, George does all the cooking. He is a good cook and it works out well for us. But I wanted to initiate him to the wonders of a Crock Pot. So we bought a beef roast, and followed the directions in my Crock Pot cookbook. We cut the meat into cubes and browned it. Dumped it in along with carrots, onions and potatoes and celery. So far, I was feeling pretty confident. Then I got to the rest of the ingredients list. We had no beef broth, whole tomatoes, bay leaf and other spices. So we improvised, which included adding a large can of crushed tomatoes. Let me tell you, when the can says crushed, it means crushed.
When we got done, it looked like a sea of tomato sauce. With misgivings, I turned it on and reassured myself that it would magically turn into a wonderful meal. 6-7 hours later, we looked in the pot. The meat had shrunk down to the size of pencil erasers. You needed a magnifying glass to find it. The sauce was bitter.
George got a bowl and sat down. "How is it?" I inquired.
"It's edible!" he said. He was being kind, very kind.
Later on, Ashlee, my daughter-in-law came over for a visit. She came over to fix everything in my life that I had screwed up or could not get to work. We spent about 3 hours on the computer, and then I let her look at the leftover dinner. She wrinkled her nose at the pathetic leavings in the bowl.
"How can you mess up a crock pot dinner?" I think she was in awe of my womanly powers. She examined the eraser sized meat. "I think you cooked it too long. You really did not need to put the tomato sauce in."
I listened intently. In the future, she might be giving me Crock Pot lessons. She is less than half my age. But the girl can cook.
Next stop: Christmas Cookies.
As Ashlee left, she gave me this reason for hope. "I told Cory that you were making Christmas cookies. He looked pretty concerned but then reassured me. He said that, 'Well, she's not so bad at baking (excluding that pan of brownies) so maybe they will be okay.'"
I'll take whatever confidence I can get.