June 24, 2010

Best Inventions Ever

Anyone who knows me well knows I love food, but I’m not the best cook.  I could use a few lessons… or a few hundred lessons.  The problem is that I have no confidence in the kitchen and some of it seems downright tedious.  I’ve been surrounded by wonderful cooks my entire life – my mom, grandmas, aunt, even my ex-husband.  They all knew how to serve love on a plate.  Me, not so much.  Oh, some of them tried to teach me, to no avail.  I psyched myself out and was content to just enjoy the fruits of their labor and help clean up the mess.

Lately though, I’ve found myself wanting to learn to cook actual grown up meals.  Fortunately, my mom has been cluing me in to items that make even incompetent, unconfident, hate to spend enormous amounts of time in the kitchen me able to make something I wouldn’t be completely embarrassed to serve.  They are, as I tell my friends, “the best inventions ever.”  I know several foodies.  If any of them are still reading this blog, they will probably laugh at this post.  Go ahead, I can take it.  I know I’m a baby in the kitchen and I’m celebrating my first steps.  It’s OK.

My favorite “best invention ever” is my rice cooker with a steamer in the top.  I absolutely love this amazing appliance.  I’ve never been able to cook rice properly and now I can not only do it with ease, but I can add fish, chicken, pork, and veggies in the steamer and create an entire meal by pressing one button.  Even I can’t mess that one up!  Alright, I’ll admit there was one time when I did way over season my salmon, but other than that, I’ve cooked many perfect meals with my best invention ever rice cooker.

My second “best invention ever” is my Fasta Pasta cooker.  I still haven’t decided if the two words are supposed to sound alike, and if so, are they supposed to be said with a Jersey accent or a slight British accent.  Give it a try and let me know.  Either way, I love this little rectangle container made of plastic.  It allows me to cook perfect pasta in my microwave.  I’ve made ravioli, penne, rotini, rigatoni, angel hair, egg noodles, shells, spaghetti, and macaroni all perfectly, without exception.  I adore pasta, so this was a perfect gift.  No more guessing if the pasta is done.  Measure it out, fill the container with water to the proper line, set the microwave to the correct time and work on other items while it cooks to perfection.  Take it out, pop the lid on (which has a handy, dandy strainer built in), drain the water, and there you have it; perfect pasta. 

Today I came home to find a new gift in my condo, left by my mom.  It’s a Technique Chicken Roaster, or as my mom calls it, a beer can chicken cooker.  At first glance it looks like a big, heavy duty chip and dip holder.  In fact, that’s what my brother in Texas thought his was until mom cleared it up for him.  It’s all one piece, has a cylinder in the center that holds liquid, and the rest is a big ring to catch the chicken grease I’m assuming.  I’ve never attempted cooking a whole chicken as an adult (there was an incident as a teen, but we won’t go there), so this is exciting and a little scary.  And hooray for me, Safeway has whole chickens on sale this week, so I’m going to buy two and try to cook one on Saturday.  I don’t know what liquid I’ll put in the center, I’ve been told I have lots of options.  So wish me luck as I try out the chicken roaster to see if it rates being added to my list of “best inventions ever.”  My mom hasn’t been wrong with anything yet, so I’m guessing this one will be a winner as well.

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