Saturday, August 29, 2009

She's Lightning McQueen, I'm 'Mater

Last night I tried to make one of Rachel Ray's "30 minute meals" for dinner. The pasta was yummy (yum-o?), but the timing... 30 minutes MY ASS. I guess cooking is like getting your tires changed. Technically, your tires could be replaced in like 30 seconds if you were a race-car driver with your own pit crew. But most of us have to go to Sears and wait at least an hour. Rachel Ray is the race-car driver. Her Food Network set kitchen is the pit crew. I'm the poor shmuck wandering around the mall, waiting for Sears to call me and tell me my car is ready. I mean, in my kitchen it takes 20 minutes just to bring enough water to a boil to cook a pound of pasta, not to mention the 10 minutes to boil the noodles themselves. That's half an hour right there, not including mixing it into the sauce, pouring the whole shebang into a casserole dish, topping it with the Special Crunchy Topping, and putting it into the oven for awhile. Assuming that you have everything together enough to get the sauce and the topping done while the pasta is cooking, it's still more like a 45-minute meal.

I think her water must be pre-heated, because she turns on the stove and-- BAM!-- water is boiling just like that. She chops her veggies, but the onions and garlic are already peeled, everything is washed, and somehow she magically takes exactly the amount of everything she needs from the fridge-- no searching for a Tupperware to house the leftover frozen spinach or the other half of the chopped onion. Little things, but sure makes a difference when you're trying to replicate her results.

I don't know whether to be annoyed at her efficiency, or to try to turn my kitchen into my own speedy pit crew...

On a similar note, I made a banana-cream pie from scratch, that I'm very proud of. I haven't made a pudding not out of a box since maybe high school. The eggs came from our own back-yard flock-- all three of the non-lame girls are laying now. The yolks were bright orange and made the filling the same color as the additive-filled Jello stuff. Kind of makes me think that if those folks used higher-quality eggs, they wouldn't need to add yellow food coloring to their vanilla pudding. Anyway, it was easy, and delicious. If I could find a way to nix the Nilla wafers and their evil ingredients, I'd be really happy, but apparently it just isn't a banana-cream pie without either a wafer or a graham-cracker crust...

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