Now that Taylor’s moved back home, I have had to make some painful changes to my diet.
This includes more protein, fewer bottles of ketchup, and only one pickle per day.
When Taylor made this pronouncement in the grocery store, as I stood in the aisle clutching my precious jar of Zesty Dills, I could feel a lump in my throat. One pickle per day? ONE? That’s like telling somebody they can only breathe once per minute, or that they could only brush their teeth once a week. One pickle per day…that is positively unhealthy. It’s like telling a child they are only allowed a single dream for the future.
I feel strongly about pickles.
Taylor sighed and pointed to the nutrition facts, where ‘SODIUM’ was listed with ‘ONE QUADRILLION GRAMS’ and told me firmly that if we are going to work on having healthy diets, we need to work on cutting down our salt.
“Can you handle having one pickle per day?” he asked.
I nodded sulkily, and the Zesty Dills clanked into the cart along with chicken breasts, brown rice, and a crapton of broccoli.
That dreaded Pickle Pronouncement came on the heels of our most recent attempt to eat reasonably, be active, and be supermodel poet astronauts. These are little dreams, my friends, but dreams worth having. We’ve done pretty well so far, and I’ve even shared in some of the cooking duties.
See, Taylor is usually the chef. He takes an adorable amount of pride in allowing me to get home from work and lay on the couch while he busies and bustles in the kitchen, asking how my day went and whether I want a glass of water with dinner or a glass of milk. He has even learned to time this business, so that occasionally I’ll walk through the door right as he is sliding a friendly little pile of stirfry onto one of our chipped blue plates. It’s all very reverse-Martha-Stewart, and I enjoy it more than I probably should. It’s nice to be able to hang up my hat, loosen my tie, and slap my sweetie on the ass and ask what’s cooking.
With Taylor’s new schedule, though, he’ll be spending more time grading papers and programming Skynet and less time frying potatoes, so for a few nights every week I will be donning The Almighty Apron and wielding The Spatula Of Destiny in an effort to create something that doesn’t smell like burning and taste like sand.
This is made a little more difficult with the whole ‘healthy eating’ business. Normally when I’m asked to cook, I can just swing by Little Caesar’s, throw the pizza on the table, and yell, “Alakazam! Am I Mario Friggin’ Batali or what?” Needless to say, that doesn’t particularly fly on our ‘one pickle per day’ plan. Most of the recipes that I know involve tomatoes, soup, and some combination thereof, so I’m stretching my wings here and seeing what I can do.
Friday was my night, and I had a scheme.
You have to understand that in my family, we do not have recipes. We have schemes, or maybe plots. Possibly even cunning plans. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen my father crack a cookbook. Instead, whenever he makes something new he shows up at home with several grocery bags and shrugs, “Oh, I’m just going to try something,” and then he retreats to the kitchen where he prepares whatever strange brew he had bubbling in his brain all morning. If anyone asks him how he did what he did, he’ll kind of go “eeeeengh” and consider that an answer to your question.
I cook the same way, only nothing I make is delicious.
So Friday I was mega-excited to try something new. I marinated some chicken breasts in my favorite greek dressing, chopped up some tomatoes and red onions to put on top, and then I cooked those suckers! Taylor made some rosemary potatoes to go on the side.
The chicken smelled fantastic while it was cooking, and as soon as it came out of the oven and I was able to try my culinary creation?
It tasted like, uh, like chicken.
You guys, chicken doesn’t even taste that great. All my marinating and chopping was for naught, but Taylor’s potatoes were fantastic, so that’s great.
In an effort to help my newly blooming cooking skills, we bought a crockpot on Saturday. It’s sitting in the living room right now, secure in its styrofoam, quietly taunting us. “You don’t have any idea what to do with me, do you?” it keeps whispering. I’ve tripped over it twice.
Are you guys fantastic crock potters? Got any great recipes?
Update: You guys, there are already some great recipes in the comments! Even if you don’t have one to add (and I hope you do!) take a stroll through there and see what’s cooking!