I’ve been working hard on providing more nutritious meals for my family. This has been a challenge, as I’m not exactly skilled in the arts of culinary creation.
Take, for instance, the “meal” (and I use the term loosely) I put together for my family last week.
I went grocery shopping the morning of making the meal I had planned to serve that evening. I browsed every aisle as I normally do, searching for sale items and grabbing what we needed to restock our pantry and fridge for the week. A good 40 minutes of shopping and somewhere around $70 later (down from the $100 I’d expect as I have taken on a new money-and-health-conscious practice of buy-no-junk-food while grocery shopping), I returned home with bags of goods to put away and practice my Martha Stewart-esque child making mud-pie-esque cooking skills.
Well, it turns out this is hard to do if you don’t actually buy what you went to the store for. The plan was to make a delicious curry we’ve had many times before, served with brown rice. This becomes tricky when you are missing key ingredients such as the curry spice that we’ve run out of, potatoes, coconut milk, and onion. There are very few dishes I make that do not have onion, a regular member of our produce bowl presence, but my mind was apparently elsewhere as I shopped. These were not the only things I neglected to purchase, either, but let’s stick to this particular meal.
So, being that I’m not at all familiar with proper substitutions of food, clearly I would have no problems carrying on with my meal plan. Let’s see… Pre-chopped potatoes that have been in the fridge since last week when I (as usual) cut up way more than I actually needed for the previous meal shouldn’t kill us, right? Cottage cheese with an expiry date of 3 days ago and a splash of milk could probably pass for coconut milk. Forget the onion. And for spices, let’s just sprinkle in a bit of every spice I like on our spice rack (and of course don’t bother actually measuring anything, just toss it in – I AM a pro, after all).
Needless to say, when the time came for dishing out our “meal”, there were some hesitancies to taste this god-awful mess. Hopefully when the not-so-great-smelling concoction of “it-probably-won’t-kill-us” curry is added to the burnt rice (I forgot I was cooking for a bit…. again), magic will happen and it will all come together to wow our taste buds.
As I slopped some of the creation onto our plates, talking over all the interesting changes with my hubby, we looked at it and just burst out laughing. (I had to laugh or cry. I chose laugh.) After a good howl, we wondered again about the actual possibility of poisoning from old potatoes. A quick internet query gave me the courage to go ahead and try to eat this…. “food” (pre-cut potatoes that have been sitting in the fridge for a week in a ziplock apparently aren’t a health hazard). So we attempted to down what was on our plates.
After a few bites and continued half-laughing-half-crying, we decided ice cream would suffice for dinner that night (luckily we keep some squishy packs of baby food in our pantry for occasions such as this).
I just couldn’t bring myself to toss out the giant pot of food, so the next night I was determined to save it somehow. So I mixed in some moe spices, packed the slop into a casserole dish, topped it with a generous covering of cheese and a sprinkling of chopped green onions and let it bake.
Although I still wouldn’t submit the improvised recipe to “Good Housekeeping”, it became edible. Almost delicious, even.
Ah, cheese. Thank you for being a tasty masker of kitchen fails. I love you, you savory block of dairy delight. You shall always have a place in my kitchen and my domestically challenged heart.