Sunday, October 15, 2006

What's Cooking?

At my house? Not much.

Don’t get me wrong. I love to eat. All you have to do is glance at my waistline for confirmation. (Special thanks to Meg Cabot for her book title, SIZE 12 IS NOT FAT.)

What I don’t love is cooking. Somewhere between finding the recipe, bringing home the groceries and taking out the pan, I lose all interest. I suddenly want to check my e-mails. Re-read the last scene I wrote. See if there’s any new comments on the Buzz blog. Pick up the book I’m reading...

Yet I also don’t want to raise my kids solely on Cup ‘O Noodle and Happy Meals, so for years I’ve managed “compromise meals”, recipes that don’t bog me down too much, but keep up nutrition standards.

This makes me an oddity in my community. The vast majority of my friends enjoy cooking. But interestingly, during a discussion on one of my writer’s loops, I found out I am quite normal--for a writer. It turns out many of us creative types share this guilty secret, and live by our easiest recipes.

So okay, for what it is worth? Here is my best no-brainer recipe, given to me by a terrific cook, I might add:

Throw a 7-bone roast in a slow cooker on low in the late morning. Sprinkle with onion salt. By early evening, it should be soft and shredded. Serve inside warmed-up flour tortillas and let your family/guests top with shredded cheese, sour cream, salsa, chopped lettuce and tomatoes, guacamole, black olives and or whatever works for you.

And then sit back and take the praise. Because it’s good. And come on, you’ve cooked ALL DAY (while doing line edits, e-mailing with your critique partner, browsing MySpace, drafting up your new idea, etc., etc.).

So I offer this to one and all: if you’re like me and like to eat WAY more than to cook, what tricks or recipes do you use to ease the burden? Or if you happen to be an enthusiastic cook, please share your thoughts to help those of us cooking-interest-impaired writers keep our families fed--and our characters thriving.

Top Ten Uses for An Unworn Prom Dress, Feb. 2007
How to Hook a Hottie, Spring 2008


Anonymous said...

Hi Tina,
I used to cook that same way when my kids were little. I'd put a roast in the crockpot and let it simmer all day. Then one night we sat down to dinner, our stomachs growling, eager for Mom's delicious home-cooked meal. And boy, did we get the surprise of our lives. The meat tasted like perfume! After much discussion on how this could possibly have happened, my daughter confessed that she had broken a bottle of her cologne in the kitchen while the meat had been thawing out.

We held our noses, tossed the dinner in the trash (outside) and ordered a pizza.

Great post, Tina.


Dona Sarkar-Mishra said...

And here I thought I was some sort of freak show for not liking to cook!

Love the roast idea Tina! I have a crockpot and I've only used it twice to make stew (which turned out badly I might add :)

I'm as guilty as anyone of not loving to cook. I'm bad at it and I hate it. My husband cooks really well, but only likes doing it if we have for just the two of us, we live on PBJs, Lean Cuisines, and eating out!

Bad I know :)
I'm going to try the roast thing next weekend, sounds delish!

Marley Gibson said... lost me on this one ::EG:: because not only am I a huge Foodie, but I'm a closet gourmet chef. I've been cooking seriously since about 1997 and I really enjoy the art of cooking. To me, it's a stress reducer...the chopping and slicing and prep the grilling, searing, everything. I love finding recipes and making them my own (by lightening and lowering the fat) and I love impressing my hubby with flashy plating, colorful sauces and fancy garnishes.

I will say that when I'm deep in the blood fever of writing, it's hard to cook properly. I found this great company that has excellent meals that are easy to make and get on the table. It's called Home Bistro

My hubby just heats it up (you boil the pre-cooked packets) and he plates it up while I'm writing. It's been working out great.

Course, there is always take out Chinese, Indian, Mexican and pizza. LOL!!

Marley = )

Simone Elkeles said...

I don't mind cooking, it's the cleaning up that I hate. So the truth is we go out to eat more than we eat at home because the daunting task of cleaning up is just too much.

Since every minute cleaning is another minute I'm not spending with my kids or not writing my book that's due to my publisher in a month, I'm sorry to say most of our income goes to eating out.

I'd like to change this. I'd like to be more organized. I'd like my kids not to be so picky when it comes to food...

Oops, gotta go. The microwave just dinged.

~Simone Elkeles
How to Ruin a Summer Vacation in bookstores NOW!

stephhale said...

I actually really like to cook! It's gotten really hard with two babies though. My husband works 2nd shift so I always have to try and entertain them while cooking. I try to do my best to feed them healthy, homecooked meals, but sometimes I get exhausted and hit the drivethru. Unfortunately, I am pretty sure we are banned from our favorite Italian drive-thru though. Just a few days ago we picked up some food and I was driving away when I heard the girl say goodbye. She was talking to my 3 year old whose window was down. His reply? "BYE, BUTTHOLE." I swear the kid has never said two clearer words. I couldn't go back because there were like 20 cars behind me! I could have died!
Tina, the recipe sounds great. Another easy thing to do is throw a pork shoulder roast into the crockpot all day, tear it up, and throw in some KC Masterpiece for easy BBQ. Everyone loves mine!
Marley~ thanks for the link. I'm going to make good use of it!

TinaFerraro said...

Janie, great story about the uh, fragrant roast! Ugh!

And Marley, I just checked out that website and it looks yummy. And thanks, Steph, for your pork roast recipe, too.

And okay, among the Buzz Girls, we have 2 culinary avoiders (Dona and me), 1 with mixed feelings(Simone), and 2 enthusiasts(Marley and Steph). Tera Lynn and Heather will be the deciding votes.

And we'd still love weigh-ins from our blog readers, too!


Kelly (Lynn) Parra said...

I don't know what it is but since I've had to feed a family of four, cooking is boring. lol! When it hits 4:30 I start running around trying to get dinner started and finished by the time my husband gets home. Funny, but if I had a huge kitchen with all the greatest ingredients and top of the art tools of the trade, (and didn't have to clean up) I'd probably enjoy it more. I like gourmet dinners like Marley, and if I had the time and the money maybe I would spend more happy time in the kitchen. But gourmet isn't reality and fast and easy is more our menu, but I would like more fast easy ideas. =D

Anonymous said...

Ciao, Tina!

I hear is not one of my favorite ways to spend my time, either...all that work and nothing to show for it once it's gobbled down. I wouldn't mind it so much if someone would come into my kitchen and do all the prep work...sort of like those cooking shows where they have 10 little bowls of pre-rinsed/chopped/blended ingredients, and all I'd have to do is smile and dump them into a bowl or pan.

There's a link on Verla's that has 3-ingredient recipes:

Leave it to writers to come up with something like this! ;)

Buon Appetito!

TinaFerraro said...

Kelly, it's been proven before that you and I think alike, and I guess we have one MORE area here now, too. Check out the Verla Kay link that Natalie (my new friend in Trieste, Italy!) mentioned. I just did and printed out two chicken recipes that might save my day...

Natalie, "grazie" for dropping by! And that link was not only helpful, but funny, too. (I especially liked the parent who suggested "Cheerios, milk and sugar".) And now that you've "found" us, please do not be a stranger!


MaNiC MoMMy™ said...

I put boneless chicken breasts in the crock pot with SWEET BABY RAY'S bbq sauce. Then shred it and put it on hamburger buns.

I love your idea-I'll have to try that one!

And Dang it; it's Monday, diet day, so you're killing me with this food talk so early in the day!

Me said...

As one of the deciding votes I have to say... I'm half-and-half! I really like cooking (or at least the idea of cooking) especially when I'm at the grocery store. But usually I'm too tired from writing/class/walking up and down the hills in Medford to actually cook on a day-to-day basis.

When it comes to Thanksgiving and Christmas I go all out -- trying new recipes and tried-and-true ones. The rest of the time it's up in the air. Some nights I do the microwave thing -- I love microwave burritos! Most nights I do take out or order in.

I do have two pretty easy default "recipes" (one of which is coincidentally also a roast).

1. Buy a pork roast. Put it in the roaster/oven with a digital thermometer stuck in. Make sure to put half an inch of water in the roaster/pan. When the thermometer dings at your set temperature it's done. I then slice and eat with either cranberry sauce or (my current favorite) plum preserves.

2. Buy a pre-roasted chicken. Put it in the oven to reheat. Again, slice and eat with cranberry sauce or plum preserves.

Sure, the plum preserves sounds weird... but don't knock it 'til you've tried it. =)

TinaFerraro said...

Thanks for your BBQ idea, Manic Mom...sounds like something my kids will love.

And Tera Lynn, considering I'm presently hooked on blueberry preserves on warm biskcuits, plum is just an easy hop, skip and a jump. I'll give it a try.

Thanks, guys.

TinaFerraro said...

Spaghetti has saved the day for me many times, Kim. Thanks for jumping in!