Saturday, April 9, 2011

Julie & Julia

Today we are leaving the world of crazy dog stories and taking a trip down an even crazier avenue ... cooking.

I'm not a cook. I can't be described as anything near a cook. I'm not too bad at it really, if I concentrate and try really hard, but I just find it boring and if it wasn't for the fact that cooking and eating kept me alive, I'd never do it. If there was a pill you could take that meant you didn't have to eat and never felt hungry, I'd take it. I do have a habit setting off my fire alarm 4 out of 5 times I use the stove but that, to me, is more a matter of the sensitivity of the alarm and less the smoke billowing out of the oven. Also, I tend to get bored with cooking and wander away leaving whatever it is to heat up perhaps a little beyond the recommended time frame.

To me, eating is a time suck and food is just fuel. Don't get me wrong, I like a good meal, I love certain foods and can certainly appreciate a very good dish when served one. In New York there was talk about "experiencing New York food" and "you can't eat at the same place twice when you're in New York". Yes, you can. Experiencing the culinary delights of a foreign land is so low on my list of priorities I can't even begin to describe it. Eat and go ... that's my gig. If I find somewhere that has a good price, good food, a variety of dishes, decent atmosphere and is convenient I'd go there the entire vacation. Jack's on W 39th in Manhattan ... we will meet again.

Back to the original point - the actual process of cooking and even taking the time to eat annoys me. I get in the usual grumpy mood when I'm hungry but part of the irritation is the fact that I have to cook something or even stop to eat. It means that some meals are a bowl of cereal or popcorn, I just can't be bothered to actually put effort into meal preparation. It also annoys me that I am literally hungry all the time - it's like food is just mocking me.

So a couple weeks ago, since the weather is getting nice and the fire alarm needs a break, I bought a tiny little barbeque which is heated with a one pound Coleman propane tank.  It was cheap and I figured how hard could this be? It means that I can cook outside, I love the smell of a barbeque, cleaning up is a snap and dishes are minimal. Plus I do love scorched meat for dinner. I decided to start out small with the barbeque, mostly because if I don't use it at least it's only a small investment. If I find I use it a lot I'll look at a bigger, more permanent one for next summer.

The weather was decent yesterday so I arrived home last night with thoughts of assembling my tiny barbeque little realizing that the process was going to take almost an hour. A miniature Uni-Flame barbeque! I need not mention that I came home hungry and wanted to eat as soon as possible but no, because I'd already started the food prep before opening the box, it meant I had to keep going. It had about a thousand parts, 900 screws, and mysterious contraptions which I am largely unfamiliar with because I've never looked very closely at how barbeques even work. I eventually managed to assemble the unit with Raimi's very close supervision, set it outside and for the first time in my life, lit a propane heated barbeque.

No explosions, there was a bit of a poof but otherwise the flame lit and stayed steady. There were all kinds of dire warnings in the instructions about leaks and whatnot but everything was heating up nicely. Having only used a stove for the past ... ever ... I had forgotten, really, that flames mean heat NOW, not in a little while. If you have a gas stove this wouldn't come as much of a surprise but for electric stove users the blast of flame is a bit of an eye opener.

I had a lovely little marinated pork chop which I threw on the grill along with some potatoes wrapped in foil and some corn. I finished doing the dishes while the food barbequed and although I suspect leaving the flaming unit unsupervised is probably not a good idea, I do still have a back deck and the dogs didn't go anywhere near the grill. I was on the phone with my friend Donna at the time as well and we joked about the smoke detector going off even though the barbeque was outside the back door ... don't laugh, with Chef Tamzin anything is possible.

Although I burnt the pork chop a little simply because I wasn't sure about the heat level within the barbeque(it will take some getting used to) this flame cooking thing, I think, I could get used to. Based on the results from last night, me and my little barbeque are going to get a lot more aquainted. It won't make me like cooking any more but at least I won't spend half my culinary time fanning the smoke away from the smoke detector. I'm sure my neighbours will appreciate that too. I'd invite you all over for a barbeque but it's pretty tiny and frankly, I want to get a little practice in before attempting to poison anyone.

Anyway, that is my non-dog blog for today. News of Zero's exploits in British Columbia coming up tomorrow. He made up for his dismal Friday morning results by taking Best of Winners in the afternoon and is currently on 5 points but needs to win at least twice more to finish in Canada. With 5 more shows to go, I'm sure it's possible! Best of luck to all entered as well, I hear that so far it's been a fun time on the West Coast!

1 comment:

Ali P said...

You can bbq in winter too if you can stand the cold. Or save it for those balmy January thaw days! BBQ extra and you have leftovers for a couple days!
I wonder if our tank is I feel all wanting bbq-y.
I too am not a BAD cook...just a negligent one. I am easily distracted by things much more interesting than the eggs boiling on the stove and have approached my house from the garden wondering "WTF is that stink?" and then almost simultaneously thinking "Oh shit I forgot those eggs!!"
The boys still discuss it. Among other culinary...adventures.