Monday, July 2, 2007

Lacking in Culinary Skills

Last night we were invited to a friends house for dinner. This friend loves to cook, and it shows. (No she is not overweight, she just makes a great spread whenever we go over to her house for dinner.) Last night she put out some trays with yummy appetizers (cheese, crackers, dips, get the idea) with a beautiful presentation of the food... and some yummy dishes for dinner... think 1). flat bread with portobella mushrooms, pesto sauce, goat cheese, and fresh basil 2). Pasta with fresh corn, peas, jalapeno pepper, goat cheese and some other ingredients which I can't remember 3). zucchini, fresh tomato, and seasoning as a salad 4) pound cake with Grand Marnier and vanilla icecream topped with fresh fruit for dessert...and if that wasn't enough, fresh watermelon. (I feel like I am channeling Ralph and Patti with all this talk about food). And to top it all of, she used beautiful dishes and trays to serve this meal.

Somehow, even with this friend's busy schedule, she manages to prepare a lovely meal on a Sunday afternoon for her family and friends.

Me...I entertain, but often find it quite the chore. When I have people over for dinner, I usually prefer to limit the amount of cleaning up that I will have to do after the meal, so I will opt for paper or plastic plates (sorry for all of my eco friendly friends...I just don't have the energy to stand and wash the dishes after cooking all day). Instead of a lovely linen table cloth (which I have) I will use a disposable one (I just can't seem to motivate myself to iron the table cloth, when it's just going to have to be washed and reironed after the meal).

I cook, but I don't love cooking. This friend, clearly loves to cook and try out new recipes. Me, I'm just lazy. I will make the same things over and over because I am too lazy to find a recipe and go to the store to buy all of the ingredients and then make a mess in my kitchen while I cook the new recipe, only to find that I am elbow deep in mixing ingredients and that I forgot one really important item, and then I have to drag my sorry rear end back to the store. Are you suddenly as tired as I am?

My friend was very kind to give me the recipe for one of the dishes, and having tasted it, I know that it is something that I can make. I just feel so uninspired when it comes to cooking. It's not that I don't have a boatload of vegetarian cook books (I do), I just get very overwhelmed looking at the recipes. If it's something that I've tried before, I'm more likely to attempt it, because, I know how it is supposed to turn out. I am so unwilling to try new recipes. What is that about me that makes me so afraid to try out new dishes? Why can't I be like all of those people who LOVE to cook, who LOVE to experiment with different food combinations? It just doesn't seem fair.

You know, all of this talk about food is making me about a peanut butter, banana, and honey sandwich on whole wheat bread?


meno said...

Now THAT'S a gourmet meal, PBB&H.

sari said...

I used to hate to cook, but in the last few years I've gotten better about it. But I'm not one of those people who can just buy a bunch of stuff and make things out of the food, I have to plan what I'm getting and how to make it because I'm not too creative yet.

Chai said...

I love to cook, but not every single day, i get tired and worn out during the school year, and then when i do have time to cook, it is just me and kiddo and he doesn't care for too many diferent things...but we are working on that..

Marsha said...

I really love to cook, I love to read cookbooks, watch cooking shows, read food blogs...BUT there is so much on my plate right now that I dread cooking.

only oldest said...

never underestimate yourself Lynn. This part of your family ALWAYS appreciates your holiday meals. Heck they are so good, now that I have had the surgery, I can't seem to get past the appetizers which are delicious.

Lynn said...

Meno - Twelve came up with the PBB&H sandwich...I think she got it from one of her magazines.

Sari - Planning is definitely the key. I think I lack the patience to plan. Although I am somewhat organized, I am also quite impulsive and impatient. It's hard for me to stand around and read a recipe.

Chai - Thanks for visiting. Ten and Twelve both like different things and sometimes I feel like I am running a restaurant. I looked over your "Easy Peasy Recipeas" and found some recipes that I might just have to try.

Marsha - I'm envious that you love to cook...and I totally understand about having so much on your plate. It's quite a dilemna.

Only Oldest - You are way too kind.

Joan said...

Lynn: Stop being so hard on yourself. You always present a really nice meal to your guests (I can say that since I've been a "guest" oodles of times) and we always have a really fun time. And there is absolutely nothing wrong with paper tablecloths and plastic plates!!! Take it from someone who helps with the cleanup!

Michele said...

When I go out I love it when it's casual and it's help yourself rather than all these fancy schmancy stuff because I'm very picky and I'm not sure what it that I'm taking to eat so give me a bowl of chips, a bag of pretzels, a BBQ with burgers and chicken, and don't even set it up, let me help, just point me towards the kitchen and we can do it all together. Or better yet, everyone bring your favorite dish and there ya go. Everyone that knows me expects that... I won't go fancier than that. Don't try to make yourself something you aren't. Be yourself Lynn!

ARM said...

Oh my...I want to go to your friends house for dinner.

I hear you on the cooking. And I'm sure it's even more tough since you only eat vegetarian (right?). That's why I prefer to bake.

Patti said...

Lynn, this is really funny. So you felt like you were channeling us, huh? ;-)

Your friend sounds like a really good cook.

Go to my blog and click on my friend Sarah's blog, Cucina Bella...she loves to cook. I don't know how she finds the time. She has a toddler, works full time, is pregnant and has two crazy beagles.
Oh! and a husband.
And she has a cookbook coming out.

Ralph said...

It's not lazy to prepare food in a hurry...for us, if you keep low salt chicken or vegetable broth and cans of diced tomatoes on hand, you can make a quick good meal - the other day, we made sausage, broth, tomato and shrimp. We served it with penne pasta. Total prep was no more than 20 minutes, and it was really good. I am sure that you are an excellent host, the comraderie is the best when with family and friends!

Renee said...

Ya know we are all given certain gifts. I'm not a big entertainer either...but somehow I have this passion for throwing big family dinners but usually just once a year. I go all out and since I only do it occasionally DH doesn't whine at the price tag. But I don't like the clean up either. Thankfully DH loves to clean up for me after these big meals.

That said, I think it's great that you do what you are comfortable doing. There is no rule that you have to do your parties a certain way. I love doing the paper and disposable thing...that's what I do for all of DD's parties and most lunches.

Lynn said...

Joan - Thanks for the support, I can always count on you;~)

Michele - Thanks...Sounds like you're my kind of guest.

Arm - I love to go to this friends house for dinner because, I know that I will get to try some newfangled dish. I just put so much pressure on myself, when I have them over.

Patti - As soon as I am done here, I will go visit Sarah's blog...and probably become green with envy.

Ralph - You are correct...about the comaradie with family and friends...I think that most of the time, my family is just very greatful that they didn't have to cook the meal.

Renee - Thanks for the support. I tend to have people over for big occasions like holidays,otherwise I find that it's just too much work.

Pawlie Kokonuts said...

Speaking of chores, the Vatican once used the memorable phrase "conjugal chores" in a document about sex. Thought I'd mention that.

Lynn said...

pawlie kokonuts - Thanks...Can't imagine how I missed that.