I usually say that I hate cooking. It’s time consuming, and I just hate the hassle of being in the kitchen and having to navigate around anyone else who comes inside. I don’t think that I would hate it so much if I lived alone. I could pull up netflix on my computer and play it as loud as I need while I chopped vegetables and boiled water to make stock, without someone coming in and needing to get into cabinets where I’m standing, or asking what I’m making or telling me an easier way to chop onions or making a pointed comment about the puddle of water on the stove from where the water escaped out from under the pot lid or the crumbles of grated cheese on the counter which I’ll need to wipe up. It’s not that the act of cooking is so terrible, but all the baggage that goes with it.
So yesterday night, I was enjoying the chance to cook some new soup recipe – ossobucco. My roommate was upstairs and then she and her boyfriend left, leaving me alone to get through the process. I had time to chop the onion, celery and carrots, mostly, while I heated olive oil in a pan. Then I was able to get water for the 8 cups of stock boiling as I cooked the vegetables in the 3 cups of white wine for 10 minutes, which should have given me time to prep the herbs I would add later.
Of course 8 cups of water needed more than 10 minutes to come to a boil, even with a lid over the pot to trap the heat. I was also zesting a lemon, which took a lot more energy than you would think, and I wasn’t totally done by the time the wine had cooked, meaning I had to move the pot as I finished prepping the lemon zest and other herbs (sage, thyme and rosemary) and waited for the pot of water to come to a rolling boil.
Once all that was done, everyone in the house ended up in the kitchen, including my boyfriend. The hassle of things not all being ready when they needed to be was compounded by other people flouncing in and out and making the whole environment distracting and obstacle-ridden. When the roommate and her bf left, I got my boyfriend to help me with the cup of rice we were going to add, as I fought with the jar of capers – the whole thing needed to go in the soup, but I didn’t want the liquid they were sitting in and we didn’t have a tiny strainer.
We did manage to add the remaining ingredients, after a discussion about which type of rice to add. We were concerned that brown rice wouldn’t cook in the 45 minutes we were supposed to stew it, especially with chunks of carrot, onion and celery and the tiny little capers taking up space in the soup. I checked the recipe book and it said brown, so that’s what we added, with a hope and a prayer that it would cook all the way.
In the meantime, we got some garlic bread from the freezer and heated that while I grated parmesan cheese. That was also problematic as it had these white circles all over it, and we had to figure out if they were mold, and if so, was it something we should throw out or could we risk eating it? We had already erred on the side of, “Internet says it’s probably ok, so let’s just grate it” and I was in the process of using our zesting utensil (hell if I know what it’s called, we also use it to grate ginger or nutmeg) to grate the parmesan fine enough, when bf calls his mother to ask her opinion of the white spots on parmesan, and ask how we can avoid this happening in future. She told us to wrap it in wax paper, which we had none of, but we substituted with something else (butcher paper maybe? Is that different?).
The soup came out delicious and the grated parmesan with the weird white spots didn’t make us sick, which I would call a success. However: the soup was so hot even after blowing on it that it scalded our taste buds. Bf blames me, because I tend to have a higher tolerance for hot soups than he does and I had said it was fine.
You see why I generally hate cooking.
I had intended to cook this soup on Wednesday, the only day I was actually home at dinnertime, but when I looked at the recipe and saw how long it needed to stew, I decided forget it, and my boyfriend and I went to Wendy’s instead. Saturdays are a better day for longer recipes, because losing two hours of your night isn’t as much of an imposition on time as when you only have about 4 hours at home before you need to sleep in order to get up and go to work in the morning. Also on Wednesdays I have a standing skype date with a Japanese friend to practice our mutual languages, which comes at 7 in the evening, smack in the middle of when I would be cooking had I done this then. Also also, bf had to drive out to a friend’s house to give him something said friend had left at work, and he wanted to go before it got too late. So, like the lazy millennials we are, we gave up and got fast food.
I had promised my bf that if he took me to Wendy’s I would make him the soup on Saturday (I would have on Friday had it not been for an obligation to the same friend from the above paragraph). I kept the promise and I was glad – the soup was delicious, albeit hotter than hell, we ate lots of veggies and apparently both lemon zest and capers are high in various vitamins and minerals and low in calories. If cooking could only be streamlined, I would do it more often.
I hope that the long, bordering on run-on sentences of this blog post can convey the sense of chaos I usually feel when I am faced with a long cooking project. Yes, it was totally intentional.