I’ve talked in the past about my lack of cooking skills – I’m marginal at best. There are some things I cook well. Chicken soup, creamed spinach, tacos…oh, and I can whip up a mean breakfast. But other than that? It’s hit or miss with me, and I whiff it more often than not.
Let’s take today’s meal and break it down one by one. Shall we?
The turkey was dry. I cooked it for the time recommended on the package, but still it was super dry, even with basting. I told myself this was better than the alternative – undercooked turkey is scary. But, to be honest, my overcooked turkey wasn’t going home with a 1st runner up sash either.
My mashed potatoes were thin and flavorless. I’ll admit I struggle with mashed potatoes in general. Some nights they are flawless…smooth and firm with the perfect amount of butter and salt. And then there are nights like tonight, where I do nothing different – I don’t stray from my potato cooking routine – but they turn out thin and bland. It just pissed me off that I had to settle for the bland variety on a holiday where I’ve already fucked up the main protein.
My spinach? I cooked it last night and it was perfect. I mean, rarely do I whip up a batch where I don’t need to tweak it even one bit. It was that good. Today I put it on the back burner set to Low and went about my business. My sister called, I put up some Christmas lights, I watched some TV. Suddenly, I went back into the kitchen to check the turkey and “gasp!” I saw the steam coming out of the spinach pot.
I had totally forgotten about it. I quickly got a bowl and dumped the spinach nearest to the surface out. The bottom of the pan had a thick film of burned spinach that I am still trying to soak out. I may just have to buy a new pot. My attempts to save the spinach were fruitless. You could taste a slight burnt flavor in it.
My stuffing – same I made to perfection last year – was dry and mealy. I’m the only one that eats it anyway, but hell…it was an hour out of my day to make it.
And my gravy was too salty.
So there was dinner. A plateful of “eh” that I was not thankful for. I was hoping dessert would be a bit of a confidence booster.
I was hoping…on the bright side, at least I didn’t over eat.
I made my oldest a cheesecake – her favorite. The last time I made her a cheesecake it sucked because I had relied on my sister to tell me how much cream cheese to buy, and we wound up buying way too little. This time I had a recipe in hand, the official Philadelphia Cheesecake Recipe, and followed it to a T with one exception – I added a touch of lemon juice to the batter.
Once our blah dinner had digested and we were ready for dessert, I sliced us up some cheesecake, topped it with some whipped cream and sat down to enjoy. I looked at my daughter and said, “I really hope this is good. I really need this to be good.”
You know how cheesecake is supposed to be smooth and rich? Mine wasn’t. It was kind of, well, flaky. I’m thinking it was one too many eggs, but I added the amount called for in the recipe, and in the exact fashion in which they were supposed to be added. Daughter concurred that it was just “okay.”
This was when I made a decision. I am not cooking holiday dinners anymore. It’s just a waste of my time and my money. For the dough I shelled out to make this meal I could have easily bought dinner out, tipped very generously, and had no dishes to do.
That being said, I think I may spend Christmas with my husband out at his skating rink. Sandwiches and a bag of chips sounds way better than anything I could whip up.
And a lot cheaper too.