Martha I Ain’t

My kitchen is cursed. I’m convinced. I have never been a good cook. But in this particular kitchen, a galley style with very little room or countertop space, I’m the worst I’ve ever been. It is routine for food to either end up down the garbage disposal or thrown into the trash. I’m not proud of this but I often render perfectly good food inedible.

I grew up living with my grandmother, who was a fabulous cook, but she was English which means the spice rack was never in danger of needing refilled. In fact, I’m pretty sure those spices were decades old and would have crumbled if touched. The result of this is that I have the most bland taste buds in the world. As I’ve gotten older I’ve ventured into trying more flavorful foods but only in restaurants. And only on a very mild scale. The fact I sprinkle on chicken seasoning and Worcestershire sauce when I pan cook chicken breast is incredible progress.

I want to eat more foods. I want to eat like a grown up. Heck, I’d settle for eating like a teenager at this point. But I find no inspiration in this kitchen. This is why the kitchen is going to play such an important role in what house I decide to purchase. The kitchen is the clincher. So are the schools, the neighborhood and the size of the bathrooms but lets stick with the kitchen for now.

I need a kitchen that will return my mojo. Or help me find my lost mojo. Oh Hell, I need the mojo I’ve never had. I’m tired of feeling like a pre-schooler when it comes to food and I’m very tired of feeling like a failure when I destroy Ramon noodles. That’s right, I destroy Ramon noodles. I have a timer on my stove for this reason and I still can’t get it right.

I’m trying to find a way to diet and my friend, who is ever patient and kind, sends me menu suggestions from an online diet site (the site that shall not be named for obvious reasons). I didn’t get past the first item before I started getting hives. Wheat pasta and ground turkey and egg substitute and 1% milk. Uhm…..no thanks.

I’ve decided I’ll keep my 40lbs, exercise until I can’t take anymore, and find a kitchen that inspires me to not only cook better foods but cook well. If I could find a cook to actually go with the kitchen, that would be even better.

Do you like your kitchen. Does it inspire you? Did you grow up eating gourmet food that had never seen the inside of a freezer or are you like me and make everything out of a box?

Oh, and this picture is from a townhouse I’m about to go check out. I love this kitchen. Let’s hope the place is as nice as this makes it seem.

28 thoughts on “Martha I Ain’t”

  1. irisheyes says:

    I know exactly how you feel! I’ve got a great kitchen but I’m not real fond of cooking!

    I grew up in a meat and potatoes type household. I didn’t even know half the vegetables out there existed until I moved out. So, even if I were to cook what I know, none of it is good for you.

    What we are trying to do at this point in our lives is get smarter and healthier. We are finding out it’s more about a lifestyle change and basically changing our whole way of looking at food.

    We’re doing lots of yogurt and granola, fresh fruits,veggies, and whole grains, more greens, special smoothie shakes, more fish and chicken, less beef, more fresh and less processed stuff (which I love cause it’s so easy). You are right about the spices and seasonings, though. I really think they make all the difference. We had salt and pepper (if my Dad was feeling adventurous).

    I do have to say, though, that I’ve had a tiny kitchen and a big kitchen and the bigger kitchen makes preparing everything a lot easier.

  2. terrio says:

    Irish – I know all those foods you mention are the good ones but reading them makes my face scrunch up. I don’t mean to be difficult, it’s the damn taste buds. Their stubborn.

    I can do the fish and chicken more. And I don’t do that much of the red meat. Pasta is my downfall. Pretty much 90% of what I eat has some kind of noodle in it. It’s just quick and easy and good. It’s terrible.

    And I’m not sure my grandmother even used pepper. Salt and that’s it. I know there are lots more things out there I’d like. But I don’t know how to find them. LOL!

    Yay for a bigger kitchen!

  3. irisheyes says:

    I just had the whole taste bud discussion about a half hour ago with my stubborn son! I tried to explain to him that you have to re-train your taste buds to eat stuff that is good for you. He wasn’t buying it.

    I really think that it is an issue of what our bodies become used to (or even addicted to). I don’t mean to sound all paranoid or anything, but I really believe that a lot of the food that is really bad for us has stuff in it that is addicting. Therefore, we crave it more than the stuff that is good for us. You should look up what High Fructose Corn Syrup does – that’s frightening! No wonder teen obesity is on the rise.

    I heard somewhere that it only takes a couple of weeks to re-train our taste buds, but those few weeks would be murder in this house! It’s hard enough for me to do that let alone try to do that with my kids! Sheesh!

    Okay, I’ll stop my health rant! Sorry, I get carried away with this stuff.

    On a lighter note, I really like that kitchen. If the rest of the condo is as nice, you’re set!

  4. MsHellion says:

    Salt is an important spice. Never underestimate the power of salt. You can have every spice in the word–and without salt, it would still taste like it “needs something”.

    However, I love spices and love to play with various ones. And I love to try new things (okay, not sweetbreads, pickled beets or chicken feet, or authentic bird’s nest soup)–and the spicier the better.

    I’m surprised your computer didn’t electrocute you when you wrote “patient and kind”. *shakes head* I’m sure you did it for the irony value.

    Bigger kitchen helps, I agree. You don’t have room to swing a package of ramen noodles without knocking into something. It’s no wonder you want to spend as little time there as possible.

  5. MsHellion says:

    Yeah, corn syrup is BAD and it’s in EVERYTHING. But cooking without it requires no packaged anything…and who has time? If you have time, it’s the way to go…but if you’re running around chaotically, it’s a problem.

    You can retrain your taste buds. Even *I* can crave salad when I’m on the diet long enough. Crave fruits/veggies rather than more steak and carbs… It happens.

  6. terrio says:

    You are ever patient with me. Look at how many times you’ve argued…errr…debated with me today? And we’re still debating. LOL!

    Yeah, I’m sure there’s stuff in this unhealthy crap that makes it addictive. But I’m not sure my tastebuds are trainable. They are pretty set in their ways. LOL!

  7. I make a lot from a box, but genuinely love to cook from scratch. My taste buds are far from bland so a dollop of butter here and there, I’ve found, makes everything taste good. In fact the more fat you pile on the more taste you incur.lol. Crisco was invented by God*g*. And yes I’m inspired by my kitchen, but it could stand to be a bit bigger.
    I’m on Weight Watchers currently and have found that you don’t have to give up the food you love in favor of, say, wheat grass. You only need to eat smaller portions. Good luck losing weight! I hope we’ll be seeing less and less of ourselves in the mirror any day now.

  8. terrio says:

    Kelly – no one seems to remember that they used to cook with LARD and EVERYONE ate it. And lived to talk about it. The difference is, people used to MOVE.

    My grandmother always had a can of Crisco around. And that can of bacon grease that sat on the back of the stove. LOL! Ah, good times. Good times.

  9. MsHellion says:

    The portions were a LOT smaller then. Pie went a lot further. Instead of 6 pieces, it was 8…and it was a 8″ pie pan.

    Everything is bigger now, including our waists.

    Kelly, any friend of Emeril’s is a friend of mine. *LOL* Ymmmm, pork fat rules.

  10. terrio says:

    The portions were smaller? Really? I wouldn’t have guessed that. But then, families were bigger and with more mouths to feed that would mean less food for each.

    And they didn’t have the super-secret laced-with-addictive-substances fast food to tempt them. And they grew or raised much of their own food.

    The more I think about it, the more I’m convinced we’re doomed.

  11. MsHellion says:

    You ever see a dinner plate from the 1950s versus what constitutes a dinner plate now?

    A 1950s dinner plate is now our salad plate.

    Everything was smaller; and a lot of portion control revolves around:

    1.) What we’re eating out of or with. Plate SIZE does matter

    2.) Getting more bang for our buck. (We will always supersize. It’s a sad fact of life.)

    Think of the lowly “bag of fries” at McDonald’s. That *used* to be the only size you could ever get. It was enough. However, then they came out with Large (which is now the medium); and now there is Supersized.

    More mouths to feed, et al; but people hate to see empty on their plate. You’ll fill it up; and then you’re supposed to eat it all! No wonder it’s getting more and more difficult to do so!

  12. My mama told me when they were young something like buying fast food would seem absurd. My Mom was a teenager when McDonald’s came out.
    PS: Hellion, Emeril is practically a saint in my house. Interesting that my love for food is religious in nature.lol.

  13. terrio says:

    I really didn’t know the plate thing. But it makes sense. And that old, “clean your plate” thing doesn’t help. If we were taught to stop eating when we’re full, we’d be much healthier adults.

  14. We’re living in the age of ‘clean your gigantic plate because you spent so much money on it’ age.

  15. Quantum says:

    Terri, when I was young, Innocent and single I discovered the 20 min rule.
    I found that boiled potatoes will cook in 20 mins and most other veg takes 15 mins.
    This enabled me to survive in a bed sit for a number of years until I lost my heart to paella (and a fair maiden who cooked it to perfection)

    Now a quick tip from a man of the world:
    Whatever you do, never ever reveal that you can’t cook when checking out prospective suitors….food is the rope that binds a man’s heart……(Quantum meditations 19??)

    Hope you find that kitchen of your dreams!

  16. MsHellion says:

    I find eating to quite the religious experience. Usually:

    “OMG, this is to DIE FOR!”

    or

    “Holy Mother of God, is that picked chicken feet? You’re not going to eat…eeeewwwwww….”

  17. MsHellion says:

    Ain’t that the truth, Q. I had this one guy in college who would call my dorm, ask if I’d made any gooey butter cake, and if I had, would prance right over.

    He might have proposed marriage if he hadn’t liked me so much.

  18. terrio says:

    Q – I don’t eat boiled potatoes (or baked or mashed) nor do I eat vegetables. And I have no idea what paella is. But I’m glad Mrs. Q cooks it perfectly for you.

    And it’s too late for the other. I couldn’t lie to save my life and I could never bluff my way through. A guy will just have to be willing to help me out in the kitchen.

    And eating is a religious experience – if I’m eating chocolate. LOL!

  19. MsHellion says:

    Paella is a Spanish rice (with saffron) dish with seafood in it. It’s got a little of everything. I think the texture of it would definitely be a “count me out” for you, as well as the saffron bit.

    I think it’s probably good…except I’m allergic to all the seafood in it. *sighs*

  20. Quantum says:

    Terri, not eating vegetables may possibly have something to do with your earlier blog about illness in which case Dr Q advises eating a raw carrot each day…..no need to cook it!

    On occasion you have wondered about the lack of eligible men. I think that you may have found the reason! Your only option would seem to be a musical chef…..very hard to find *g*

    You make gooey butter cake Hellion?!!…..I can feel that deep inner longing developing right now. Shakespeare said it best. If food be the music of love eat on…or something!

  21. terrio says:

    Q – if you’re trying to make me feel better, it’s not working. And it’s not a problem of no eligible men, it’s a problem of no eligible men of my acquaintance. Totally different.

    Butter cake is how you lure them in? Hmmmm…I can bake, just not cook. I’m going to need that recipe.

  22. MsHellion says:

    I make a lot of desserts, Q, and I ascribe to the saying: “Never trust a skinny cook.” *LOL* Gooey butter cake is just one of the easiest because you start with a cake mix, and you top it with a mixture of cream cheese and powdered sugar. It’s hard to go wrong, you know?

    I love cooking. I always wanted to try cooking paella, even if I couldn’t eat it. (Allergic to the shellfish.) Although never trust a cook who cooks something they won’t eat…so that probably doesn’t work. *LOL*

    I need to put on my list: “cook crawfish etouffee”–I can’t get enough of that stuff at Jazz, and it’d just be fun. But being in a land-locked state, crawfish aren’t real prevalent around here.

    Favorite dishes to make: chicken gumbo; roast turkey with trimmings; roast beef and gravy with smashed potatoes and garlic; Chicken Florentine Alfredo

    Of course, if you’re single, perpetually dieting, and get home late 90% of the time, like me, you don’t cook any of these things often. You eat soup…or macaroni with Ragu sauce out of jar. *LOL*

  23. MsHellion says:

    Butter cake works, Terr. It depends on their sweet tooth. Some prefer chocolate brownies. Some like oatmeal raisin cookies (I don’t trust these men, but I can make these cookies.)

    I even make a credible gooseberry pie. But admittedly I have to use canned gooseberries. Our gooseberry bush is out of commission. We used to have lots of gooseberries when I was a kid. Mom used to make gooseberry “pudding”.

  24. terrio says:

    Is this where I refrain from saying I wouldn’t know a gooseberry from a goosebump?

    I can make brownies. I’m good.

  25. Hvitveis says:

    mmmm, paella… It is a rice dish with either fish/seafood or chicken/rabbitt, depending on the region. (In Valencia they do it with both at the same time.Uck.) and a indispensable ingredient is saffron. I have not dared to try it yet, thinking I had better manage to make a decent tortilla de patata first and work my way up from there..

    how about soups? you know, boiling any veggies in a little water, then make a pure thingy and add fresh cilantro. I promise, It does not taste vegetables at all. and vegetables in a curry is much the same.

    I have a period where I cannot stand the taste of fruit. the only thing I manage to eat is kiwi, “a fruit rich on fiber and vitamins like the C..”

    I love spices. garlic, cilantro, nutmeg, cumin, curry-mixes…and the favourite is blending those with my other favourites, the cakes and sweets.. spice-cake for christmas, and the pepper-coockies..

    umh, excuse me while I go find something to eat..

  26. terrio says:

    Hvitveis – I’m sure Hellion will never believe this but I do want to try using more spices. I just have to find a cookbook or something that will tell me how to use them.

    That’s one of the things I need to do this year. I’ll add it to my list of things to do this summer.

  27. MsHellion says:

    *droll look* Then might I suggest a Rachael Ray cook book?

  28. I used to cook. I used to have a dream kitchen 5 houses ago. I am just as happy with some cheap frozen dinner now. And there is never enough counter and storage space no matter what.

    My husband loves to watch the Food Network and he cooks, but quite frankly nothing is ever going to inspire me to cook and eat again. It’s like I’m over it. But why, you ask, am I still overweight? I don’t eat bags of snack chips. Obviously something is going on. I’m blaming aliens.

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