Better Late Than Never

I did some cooking back when the kids were little, but for most of the time Bill and I have been married, he did the bulk of the cooking with one major exception—Thanksgiving Dinner. That was mine and still is.

But the everyday meal planning just wasn’t my cup of tea. Then a bout with something that turned out to be acute kidney failure followed by continuing health challenges turned that tradition on its ear, and suddenly I was the chief cook and bottle washer.

Early on in the pandemic, I made a batch of chicken curry that was not only RAW!!!, it was so spicy it drew tears. It was such a complete mess that you’ll find Mel Soames cooking up the same disaster in Den of Iniquity.

But I’ve learned a lot over time. I now know how to bread pork chops so the breading stays on the chop. I make a mean Full English Breakfast. I have yet to master the art of flipping eggs in the air, mostly because I’m the one who would have to clean up the resulting mess. No, I cheat by putting a lid on the pan while the eggs are cooking. What comes out are over easy eggs with no over.

I have learned the art of the reverse sear on steaks. Not John Howie worthy steaks but good enough for a late blooming home cook.

I favor one- or two-pot meals, and my crock-pot isn’t one of those. That thing is huge and takes two men and a boy to get in and out of the pantry and in and out of the dishwasher.

Occasionally I cook up a big batch of spaghetti sauce and then dole it out over a number of days. When I need a baked potato, I dose the potato with salt and PAM and then zap it in the microwave.

These days there’s not a lot of newsworthy news, so I can fast-forward through my online copy of the Seattle Timesette in two shakes of a lamb’s tail, but occasionally I’ve found myself scanning through the recipes.

If they call for lots of stuff that I don’t have readily available, I skip right over them. But last week one really grabbed me—Skillet Broccoli Spaghetti. The idea of making the sauce in a single pot and then cooking the pasta in the same sauce was more than I could pass up.

So yes, there were things I didn’t have on hand: anchovies, unsalted butter, a bulb of fresh garlic, a bag of fresh broccoli. But this time I put them on the shopping list, and tonight I made if for the first and probably not the last time. (After all, I still have all those ingredients.). And instead of regular spaghetti, I use angel hair pasta—it cooks faster.

I’m not going to put the link here, but if you do a search for Skillet Broccoli Spaghetti, you’ll find the recipe and a photograph. Mine turned out just like the picture.

And there’s enough left over for us to have with the reverse seared steak will be having tomorrow for Bill’s 84th birthday.

Maybe in the next book, Mel will take a crack at Skillet Broccoli Spaghetti, too. She’s another late blooming cook if ever there was one.

PS. Miss Rosewarne, my Home Economics teacher at Bisbee High School, would be incredibly surprised to find me handing out cooking advice. So would Miss Holt, the PE teacher, when I blog about physical fitness!