Wednesday, April 18, 2012

I Am Not A Cook

Despite several attempts to learn, I've never really managed to become much of a chef. I like baking, and I'm actually pretty good at several more advanced things when it comes to desserts. I can make a pie crust from scratch so well that I actually prefer doing it that way to buying one at the store. Store bought doesn't taste as good.

But I'm just not good at cooking. For one thing, I'm impatient. Anything that requires constant monitoring is right out. I tried making a roux for a soup once, and it was a disaster because "stir constantly" is not in my repertoire.

I also am really terrible about anything that is supposed to simmer or cook slowly. Which is part of the reason I'm no longer allowed to make pancakes. For the record, I used to be good at pancakes in middle school. My impatience must have gotten worse as I got older. But suffice it to say after a few disasters that only got worse with each run, I said I'm just not allowed. Luckily I found a recipe for mini-pancake muffins. Yay, baking!

Anyway, over the last few weeks I've had a craving for egg salad and deviled eggs. Since I lost the blade to my food processor, I can't really do deviled eggs. But egg salad? I should be able to handle that right?

It took me two days of research and reading to figure out boiling eggs properly. Sure, I could boil an egg, and it would come out OKAY. But a few pages of tips and tricks later and I no longer have that gray outside to the yolk, and they're always perfectly cooked through.

I looked up a few recipes for egg salad when I went to make it, because I was suddenly hit with a panic: does it have more than just egg and mayonnaise? What's the ratio I should use? You see, I like baking because it's the right mix of exact and forgiving ("accidentally" dump in too many chocolate chips? Oh well, bake it anyway!). But as soon as you put "to taste" on a recipe for actual food? I'm sunk.

I don't have a sophisticated palate (I'm not even sure how to spell it). I like plain foods and not a lot of spices. I've never developed that ability to just taste something and say "Hm, it needs some basil" or anything like that. People have tried to teach me, it doesn't stick.

So after I realized that no two egg salad recipes were going to agree on anything, you can see why it's a little crazy that I decided to just wing it. I smashed up a random number of eggs (I had boiled a whole dozen, just in case) and then added mayo and a touch of pickle juice. I don't keep mustard around, or lemon juice, and I needed something, right? It's what my mom always used in deviled eggs, I figured it would work.

You would expect, given my history, that this story would end with me having somehow created something poisonous. But it actually turned out GREAT. I had egg salad sandwiches every day for a week until I ran out. It was better tasting than the store bought stuff, and a heck of a lot cheaper.

So long story short, I'm unreasonably proud that I managed to make egg salad properly without a recipe or measuring anything. Next step - figuring out how to bake french fries instead of frying them. And buying a new blade for my food processor.