Saturday, January 13, 2007
The Cooking Goddess
It was unnatural. My co-workers Don and Gene spent a day this past week talking about cooking and sharing recipes. Because there are only 3 of us in this department at work, I was privy to their ongoing conversation. Two men going on and on and blasted on about cooking, and me with the glazed-over look and the eye rolls. I finally walked out of the room, only to return later to the sound of the culinary drone marching on. Something about Indian food and the perfect sauce for tentacles. Or whatever.
Then co-worker Sue trots into our department with a tupperware dish of foul-smelling stew. Turns out it was squirrel stew, compliments of co-worker Rob and his penchant for killing things. Thoroughly repulsed, I directed Sue to the websites for Rodent Eaters Anonymous and Dead Squirrels For Jesus. I told her if she came to the door with Possum Pie, she would be banned for life.
None of this was helpful in resurrecting my interest in cooking. It's not that I can't cook, it's not that I'm a bad cook and I have had moments of inspired brilliance in the kitchen, but I seem to be caught in an extended void of unbridled disinterest in food. At least, if I have to make it. Things that pop out of wrappers and right into my mouth are highly prized. I have found chocolate and cheese to be particularly good and evil friends.
But this can't go on. It's time for drastic measures. It's time for this Cooking Goddess to strap on the power-apron and call in the big-guns for help. Enter Saint Martha, Patron Saint of Cooks, who showed up miraculously after the squirrel stew incident. (Luckily, rodent is not in her recipe rollodex.) She has taken a thorough inventory of my culinary accoutrements and deemed me a not-quite-hopeless-cause. Praise be. "O blessed St. Martha, I beseech thee to help me step back from the brink of culinary oblivion and guide me down the road of the Good-Enough-Gourmet. Amen."
Embarrassingly, I have 47 cookbooks in plain view in my kitchen. I have a year's worth of Cooking Light magazines from 2004, barely touched and gathering dust under my kitchen window. After reviewing my library, St. Martha decided to start me off with the ever-reliable Better Homes & Gardens Junior Cookbook for the Host and Hostess of Tomorrow. Circa 1955. Tonight's delight will be "nipper tuna casserole", with the helpful tip that asparagus is a tasty "go-with" for tuna. Say it with me now...Yummy.
St. Martha promises to help reignite my passion for cooking. Or at least keep me from eating cereal for dinner. What's the carrot-on-the-stick she's dangling to help me to stick to her plan? It's the recipe on pg. 67 for Raspberry Jam Tartlets and the Saintly advice that aprons double as lingerie.