Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Cooking Thyme

Last Wednesday 9 of us girls went to this place. Basically how it works is, you go to the menu for that month, pick out 6 (or 12) things, they buy all the ingredients and set up a station for each dish. Then you go to the place, and they tell you how to put it together. It's all food you can freeze so you take it all home and put in the freezer for future consumption. Truly I have no idea how I ended up going as we all know I know nothing about cooking. I even called my mom to tell her I was going and that I was nervous, and she was like, "Yeah I mean I tried to teach you how to cook, but you really could've cared less. So good luck." Thanks, Mom. However, they give you step by step instructions and 8 of my friends were going so of course I had to go.

Oh also we were allowed to bring wine. So you know.

The ladies who worked there told us that we could bring a bottle of wine to sip on while we put all our food together, but our group interpreted that as "bring 8 bottles of wine and bags and bags of Halloween candy-oh and chips and dip in a crockpot". Seriously. Why do we turn basically every event into tailgating? After we spent a half hour eating and drinking the women who worked there were like, "Um-maybe we should start cooking because we actually have lives outside of this building and would like to spend some time with our families instead of with you drunk overeaters."

They explained how it all worked, and within seconds I was confused. I had no idea what they were talking about or what we were supposed to do. I looked around the room and was met with only looks of terror. Clearly no one knew what was going on. Someone-I think maybe Suz-had to basically take me by the hand and lead me to a station to begin. Once there it started to make sense. They literally had every step written out one by one on what to do. I mean down to the smallest detail like "put into small Ziplock bag. In a different, new, small Ziplock bag put..." Awesome. Listen-I can cook when you write it out like this. Do you hear me, Mom? Details!! This is not teaching me how to cook:

"Just throw in some spices."
"What kind?"
"You know whatever kind you have laying around."
"Well is there a kind that won't taste good with X?"
"I mean you know which ones make sense and which ones don't."
"No I don't or I wouldn't have asked. [voice is getting more panicky now] Well how much should I put in???"
"Just a little bit here and there. You'll figure it out."
Dial tone. Because I just killed myself.

At any rate I did okay despite working with some mysterious substances like "cumin" and "marjoram*" and "mixing bowls". I even made chicken cordon bleu. Like I wrapped ham and cheese in chicken and then rolled it in bread crumbs. What!? I will say I am the one who probably utilized the help of the kitchen ladies more than anyone. I had questions like, "Okay so how do I use this lemon zester thing-a-ma-jig?" and "Do I need to put red pepper flakes in this? Those are yucky." and "Which one's the teaspoon and which one's the tablespoon?" But some of their time was taken up when Suz spilled raw chicken juice all over the counter, and they had to clean it up. Thanks, Suz.

Each dish comes with specific instructions for how to actually cook it so I suppose the real test is to come. We all know my biggest nemisis is the oven. And knives. Wish me luck.

Here's a porkchop that I made:

*Incidentally this made me wish I had a friend named Marjorie so when I got all annoyed I could be like, "Dammit Marjorie." I know this seems weird, but Danielle understands.


russ said...

A "porkchop you made"?

Sarah said...

You know what I mean. I put ingredients into a bowl and marinaded it and now it's in my freezer. So I did half the making.

Mon said...

That's just awesome. You really do learn to cook by trial and error. Thats the same shit my Mom pulled with me. Peel potatos. How many? As many as you want. Cut into cubes. How big? Small enough to cook through fast. Huh? Salt to taste. Who's taste? Now, I'm the same way, just whip things together.

Violet said...

I did that same thing at a place here in Illinois and it was great the first time so I went back and made a month's worth of food. Terrible idea. Nothing like knowing you'll be eating risotto six times in the next four weeks! Anyway, congrats on mastering cooking. The drinking and eating sound like fun! And I hope you love the food!

Diane said...

I'm attempting to "make" the salmon tonight. I'm nervous. I'll let you know how it goes.

russ said...

Cooking meat ain't "making" food, that's why so many guys grill.

The other night I "made" some chicken breasts -- took 'em out of the fridge, hit both sides with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, then a bit of curry powder for fun. On the Foreman until they were done.

No prep, no fuss!

But I applaud the first steps that how you get there.

russ said...

Oops... Diane snuck in there while I was writing -- that wasn't a direct response!

danielle said...

yep. please call me when you get confused with the lemon zester. and like i said before, call 911 when you think the house is burning down.

Carly said...

I need to make a Thyme after Thyme joke but I'm not pulling it together.