Cooking was always a challenge for me, up until the last couple years. I could cook, I just wasn't great at it. Thankfully, my mom is very patient and has taught me well. Since we haven't ate breakfast here yet, and food is on my mind, I thought I'd share some of my cooking stories.
First story: Chicken Veronica, also known as Yucky Chicken Floating in Orange Marmalade. Yep, that's right. Green grapes, orange marmalade, chicken broth and a bunch of seasonings, to be more specific. It all started with our yearly cooking project when I was still in school. Mom would have us pick recipes (mostly from her Taste of Home magazines) and we'd have to go grocery shopping for the ingredients, and then plan the cooking process. I decided "Hey, I'll try this recipe from a magazine with absolutely no picture! It's got a fancy name, it must be good..." Looking back I can see that might have been a mistake. I really should have been clued in when the ingredients listed grapes and marmalade, but I was really young and I didn't think anything of it.
The big day came, I got my things together and started on the main dish, Chicken Veronica. I was also juggling rice pilaf, blueberry bread and white chocolate raspberry mousse, so I might not have been paying total attention still. The chicken breasts got cooked, and I began adding the other ingredients like the recipe called for. At this point, it wasn't so bad. It didn't smell bad, and the orange marmalade (which I had never had before) surely wouldn't stay sweet, right? Wrong.
Half an hour later, after simmering for the amount of time on the recipe, I lifted the lid to find the worst smelling, worse looking mess I've ever seen. The grapes looked like floating eyeballs in a puddle of ahem... to be honest, it looked like someone had thrown up. And the smell... I'll never forget the smell...
Yes, we did still eat... just not that. The rice pilaf was ok, the blueberry bread good despite the blueberries all sinking to the bottom, and the white chocolate mousse was delicious. But to this day, my mom doesn't trust me to pick recipes from magazines anymore, and the next cooking project I did, I had to pick 'normal' foods.
So I don't have a second story, necessarily, but I do have some things I've learned that were funny to me. Maybe one will help you one day:
1. Don't add the sugar when making meringue right away. I learned this at Thanksgiving. Adding it too soon turns the whole mix into a loose foam without getting stiff like it should.
2. Grits, hard to master. Until the last three or four years, I couldn't make them. Actually, I was going to use them instead of birdseed at my wedding before I finally figured out how to cook them, because that was the only thing I could use them for.
3. No, you can't substitute everything in a recipe. Especially cake mixes. If it calls for Strawberry Jello, don't use Cranberry. Trust me. You ruin birthday cakes that way.
4. Pay attention when grilling cheese sandwiches. Otherwise you get nifty blackened sandwiches that your siblings won't eat.
5. Curry Chicken and Potatoes stains whatever it touches, be that your shirt, the rug, the plastic containers you store it in....
6. Yes, syrup is evil (in my opionion) so substitute blueberry or strawberry jelly on your pancakes, because it is delicious... and it's not syrup 😁
Last but not least...
7. A good meal is nothing without family to share it with. Take time to enjoy those family dinners each night, remember the family gathered around the breakfast table, and thank God for the blessing of having someone to cook for and eat with.