Potholder Soup - New Cook Disasters
Cooking Disasters While 'Learning to Cook'
As a newlywed many years ago, if someone had suggested I write a page to include a recipe you would have found my family & friends "rolling on the kitchen floor" unable to contain their hysterical laughter! My early cooking days were often a disaster!
Hubby Bob's favorite stories about me over the years was about my 'faux pas' in learning to cook for him, particularly the "Potholder Soup" story. Thank goodness I married a man with a sense of humor.... and, one who could cook! Otherwise, he might have 'starved' waiting until I learned.
First Time Cooking
A 'Definite' Novice!
Between college and marriage, I shared an apartment for a few months with a girlfriend. When I first moved in, she suggested we 'share' the kitchen duties.... one week she'd cook and I'd wash dishes, the next week I'd cook ..... After 3 days of my first week of cooking, Doris changed the chores list to "she'd do ALL the cooking, I could do the dishes". It was my first indication that I REALLY could not cook! Actually, I thought I could, until I realized that all the cooking I had done growing up had just been carefully explained step-by-step "prep" work prior to the actual cooking.
A few months later, I became engaged and prepared to leave our apartment and go home to get my wedding organized. Bob & I took Doris out to a farewell lunch at which she gave me two cookbooks as a gift -- which should have been a warning to Bob of what to expect!
The books were The I Hate to Cook Book by Peg Bracken and Betty Crocker's Dinner for Two Cookbook. Believe it or not, I STILL have both cookbooks, which proved to be of tremendous help as the recipes were simple and easy to follow
Cookbooks for those who 'hate' to cook... or for the newlyweds and 'empty-nesters'.
If you're like me and not much of a cook, simple recipes are the best. And recipes designed just for 'two' are perfect for newlyweds, or those of us who are now 'empty-nesters and back to cooking for just one or two!
My 'First' big mistake
I'm newly married -- we're living in our 'beginner' furnished apartment. Bob comes home for lunch. The dishes and pots & pans which came with the apartment do not match and are a mish-mash of 'whatever'.
I'm fixing Lipton Onion Soup for lunch with a grilled cheese sandwich. How hard can that be? Bob's setting the table and the soup is 'simmering' when I lifted the lid to give it a stir, replaced the lid (which did NOT fit the pan), leaving the potholder on top. Instantly, the lid 'flipped over' and tossed the potholder into the simmering soup before I could grab it. I immediately 'fished' it out, but not before it had boiled some of the 'dye' out of the potholder. You see, it happened to be a potholder hand-made by my great-grandmother using crochet thread made in the 1930s or 1940s. I'm sure the 'dye' back then was not non-toxic. We did give the onion soup a tiny taste just to see, but it tasted terrible and we were convinced it would probably 'poison' us, so had to toss the soup out.
The story, as told over the years, acquired the name "Potholder Soup".
Hubby Called My Recipe "Broccoli Silage"
One day I decided to surprise my husband by serving a vegetable with dinner that was something other than the "peas, corn or carrots" which were the ONLY vegetables I ate.
I carefully shopped for a 'different' vegetable and came home with a nice fresh head of broccoli. Never having cooked it, I looked it up in a cookbook, carefully cooked it, and served it with dinner with the remark "Look, honey, I've made you something special!".
Bob took one look and said "what is this silage?" Not knowing anything about broccoli, I had cut off all the heads (like you'd do with the tops of carrots) thinking they were what you threw away -- then cooked only the STALKS! Bob thought it was pretty funny!
New Twist to Old Favorites...
Fancy Up a Hot Dog? How Hard Can That Be!
My next "mistake" in my early days of learning to cook came with trying to make an ordinary dish a little different. Hot dogs had become a 'standard' and you couldn't goof them up too much. But plain hot dogs can become boring, so I decided to try something I'd heard about - hot dogs with cheese, wrapped in bacon. Sounded good, and not too hard.
I got out the package of hot dogs and some slices of cheese. I didn't realize you need to split the hot dog and put the cheese inside, so I 'wrapped' the cheese slice around the outside of the hot dog. Now for the bacon - I wrapped the bacon around the outside of the "dog and cheese", then realized I didn't have any toothpicks. So I 'tied' the bacon around the hot dog.
[I've been teased many times over the years by hubby that if I only knew "physics" I wouldn't attempt some of these things]
Time to cook. I put the 'prepared' hot dogs on the broiler pan and stuck them in the oven to cook. As they cooked -- you guessed it -- the bacon "untied" itself and fell off, the cheese all melted off in a blob, and I was left with - once again - a plain hot dog - and a messy broiler pan to clean! Hubby's 'cooking disaster stories' are getting longer by the episode!
is National Hot Dog Month!
July 23rd is National Hot Dog Day!
Hot Dog Recipes
Shepherd's Pie - American version
or "How to get your husband to eat a casserole"
Like most men, Bob was not fond of casseroles, but there was one we had regularly and he really liked, because to him it wasn't a 'casserole', it was a Shepherd's Pie - American version with little resemblance to the true English dish -- or even to "Cottage Pie", the beef version.
Our 'kids' grew up eating "Shepherd's Pie", which, at least in our version, was simply hamburger, onion, and cream corn - all topped with mashed potatoes and baked - very quick and easy. One day my daughter (who also wasn't much of a cook at first - well, you see what role model she had!) decided to make it for her new husband. She even called me up long-distance to get the recipe. So, she successfully cooks the Shepherd's Pie and serves it to her hubby who said "what is this - you know I don't like corn!" Daughter immediately burst into tears, and hubby shut up and ate every bite without a further complaint -- and even ended up liking it!
My Favorite Casserole Dish
Dessert Disasters ...
Or - actually -
Firstborn's First Birthday
Angel Food Birthday Cake
It was Christopher's first birthday ... my first time to bake a birthday cake. I chose Angel Food as I thought sweet cakes with rich frosting might be too much for a one-year-old. I had an Angel Food cake pan, which I had yet to use, and the cake was a cake mix. Didn't seem too hard, even for a non-cook like me. I was right. The cake came out just fine.
Chris was going to get just plain cake to eat, but his dad and I thought we'd like a little "something" on ours. So I made a chocolate whipped cream topping, which came out perfect!
I put the topping on the cake and proudly presented my "masterpiece" to hubby .... who immediately burst out laughing. Seems as though I had 'frosted' the cake upside down! Well.... nobody told me you turned an angel food cake over before frosting or serving! I thought it was the same shape as the cake pan!
Chris' Second Birthday!
I've got this 'cake-baking' down pat now....
OK - time for Chris' 2nd Birthday. Forget the angel food cake flop. I made just a plain ordinary chocolate cake mix - baked in 2 round layers - came out fine and I frosted them perfectly. Even let 2-year-old Chris lick the beaters!
Now.... I decided to "Write" his name and Happy Birthday on the top with waxed paper cones and colored frosting. All that went perfect, until.......... I'm halfway through and Bob calls in a teasing tone from the other room "Try not to 'goof' it up this year!" I 'replied' in kind and finished what I was doing. Looked at my 'handiwork' and what did I see ---
HAPPY BITHDAY, CHRIS!
Bob had interrupted me right after 'writing' the I in birthday; I lost my place and left out the 'R" Well - it 'tasted' fine!
Chris' 3rd Birthday
Enough is enough ............ for Chris' Third Birthday, we BOUGHT a bakery cake!
The Last Laugh :-)
'and they said I'd never learn to cook!'
All the 'teasing' I endured in my long quest to learn to cook culminated in me winning a RECIPE CONTEST sponsored by a local newspaper. I know submitting a recipe wasn't the same as 'entering a COOKING contest', but winning 1st. Place and having the recipe and my picture printed in the newspaper DID make me feel somewhat victorious in the kitchen afterwards.
That winning recipe, submitted below, became a favorite of my family and friends over the years. And the funniest part of all.... it wasn't an original recipe - I clipped it out of the food section of a Miami newspaper many years earlier.
P.S. The Recipe Contest was for ANY recipe, NOT for an original...
My Favorite "Winning" Recipe
2/3 cup beer
1/3 cup salad oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, or 1 clove garlic, minced.
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1-1/4 lbs. flank steak, scored
6 slices bread, toasted
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
5 medium onions, sliced
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 cup dairy sour cream
- Day before serving, combine beer, oil, salt, garlic and pepper. Add meat, turning to coat, and marinate overnight in refrigerator.
- When ready to cook, drain meat and broil 3 inches from heat about 7 minutes on each side, or until done to your liking.
- Meanwhile, melt butter and cook onions and paprika until onions are tender.
- Trim crusts from 6 slices toast and place on 6 serving plates. Cut remaining toast diagonally in half and place 1 toast triangle on each side of trimmed toast slices.
- Cut meat in thin slices diagonally across the grain. (You should get about 24 slices.) Use about 4 slices meat for each sandwich and top with the onion. Crown with dollop of sour cream.
*Makes 6 sandwiches.
*Adjust portions according to your preferences
+++Served simply with a salad, this is a very filling meal.
My Award Winning Recipe!
I Finally Became a 'Good Cook'
I actually DID eventually learn to cook -- and even became quite good. The best compliment I ever received was from my dad - who was the "cook" in our family. On a visit many years later, after cooking and serving my parents three delicious meals in a row, dad said "You know, you've turned into a really GOOD COOK!" I always treasured that compliment.
Cooking Disasters Storytelling is a Winner!
Telling the stories of my troubles learning to become a cook at least ended up being well received. I was absolutely delighted to have this story receive 3rd place in the Fresh Squid Contest for December 2009 and become chosen as "Lens-of-the-Day" while it was part of Squidoo.
I am happy people liked my 'cooking tales', as they were stories I've wanted to tell for a long time! Hubby has certainly enjoyed sharing them with friends and families over the years and they became funnier with each telling. I think his teasing was only fair. After all, he had to be the official 'taster' of each cooking flop!
A Very Funny Cookbook - Southern Recipes to "Die" for...
A friend gave me this Cookbook and even if you never 'cook' anything from it, it is a hilarious 'read'. Called "Being Dead Is No Excuse", it's the Official Southern Ladies Guide to Hosting the Perfect Funeral! The author, inveterate hostess Gayden Metcalfe, explains everything you need to know to host an authentic Southern funeral, such as: Can you be properly buried without tomato aspic? And what does one do when a family gets three sheets to the wind and eats the entire feast the night before the funeral?
Each chapter includes a delicious, tried-and-true Southern recipe you'll need if you plan to die tastefully any time soon. Charming and entertaining, this book will give you all the ingredients for the perfect Southern send-off! Granted, death is no laughing matter, but Southern funerals definitely can be!
© 2009 Wednesday-Elf