Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother's Day: In which I muse domestic.

About a year ago, my ex-girlfriend asked me to make dinner. Manwich, to be specific. (To me, this is cooking, but apparently that's not a universal opinion.)

Anyway, I took the frozen veggie crumbles out of the freezer, opened the bag, and dumped it into the pan, just as I had been instructed. But how to break up that big lump of frozen crumbles in the middle of the pan? It was like a big rock. Stabbing it with a fork didn't seem like a good idea because it could scratch the Teflon.

So I did the only logical thing: I took a hammer out of the drawer and I slammed it into the veggie crumbles. It made a terrific noise, and crumbles went flying. Oh, and I was immediately banished from the kitchen.

Which might explain why the prospect of a potluck makes me blanch. Me trying to cook, well, it's just plain contraindicated.

There was a time when I tried to cook. I really did. I even made dinner from scratch. And for guests! It worked okay if I could just cook one dish. Or if I didn't have to figure out if the meat was completely cooked. Or if I could just serve cookies for dinner, because that I can do, although the cookies will be gone before the guests arrive. But man, did it stress me out. Frankly, I'm mystified by people who love to cook.

But lesbians have potlucks, so what's a lesbian to do?

Well, you can imagine my excitement when the folks from "As Seen On TV" came out with Quick and Easy Dump Dinners.

For the uninitiated, a dump dinner is where you just dump the ingredients in a pan and stick it in the oven. You don't even have to stir. I saw the commercials. And my ex made a dump cobbler once and it was delicious.

I'm a sucker for anything that's "Seen On TV." Or hawked at grocery-store demonstrations. I love my ginsu knives!

Could Quick and Easy Dump Dinners make me the life of the potluck? It certainly showed promise. So when it went on sale at Kroger -- five bucks! -- I was ready. After all, who could resist Cathy Mitchell's smiling face on the cover? With "Delicious Family Sized Dinners in Minutes!" And over 250 recipes! Say, this could work!

But then I sat down to choose my first kickass dump-dinner-potluck recipe. And what did I find?

Verbs. Lots and lots of verbs.

Now, I'm pretty sure you're only allowed to have one verb in a dump-dinner recipe book, and that verb is dump. And maybe pour. Dump and pour. Two verbs. That's all you get.

But here's what I have to do if I want to make the Best Ever Roasted Chicken:
Carefully separate the skin from the meat of the chicken. Brush the bottom with a quarter of the dressing. Tuck the wings under the breast and put the chicken on a roasting pan, breast side up. Brush 1/2 cup of the dressing under the skin and all around the outside of the chicken....
Are you kidding me? I was better off with the Manwich.

Which brings me, alas, to a third verb, the one I'll have to use for the next potluck.  Buy. It'll have to do until Cathy Mitchell writes a real dump-dinner cookbook.

So come on, Cathy, get with the program already. You've got work to do.

Dedicated to my mother, who was a pretty good cook, but once forgot to put the pineapple in the pineapple upside-down cake.

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