As I've mentioned before, there are down-sides to being the family's resident expert in the field of what I like to call "edible cooking." It's simple, no frills, and it's certainly not gourmet (though try telling that to my mother), but it hits the spot when dinner time rolls around. (And it sure beats the alternative.) But I'm starting to wonder if it's worth the effort, when even the most basic dinner of steamed fish, cous cous, and sauteed spinach leads to phone calls like the one I fielded from my mother today:
"I was telling my co-worker about the sauteed spinach dish you made, and he's very interested to know the recipe."
"Sauteed spinach is a description, not a recipe, Mom. It's like saying...chopped vegetables, or hot water. You saute spinach- that's the recipe."
"Well how much olive oil do you use? He's worried about using too much."
"So use less, then."
"And how much onion?"
"I don't know, however much you have."
"And how much spinach?"
"How am I supposed to... I don't know, as much as you want to eat!"
"Well ok then," my mom sighed.
"Salt and pepper, and don't cook it for too long," I added helpfully.
Even my sister joined in on the action, asking me if it was easy to make cous cous. (Or coo cous, as my mother insists on calling it, no matter how many times I correct her.)
"Yeah, it's one of the easiest things you can make," I told her.
"How do you make it?"
"Um, you read the back of the box," I said. I mean, really. Let's not re-invent the wheel here, people.
I swear, if my family had been pioneers they would have died out on the Oregon Trail. Forget snake bites and dysentery, with them it would have been, "Well we have this cow but we can't figure out how to get the milk out. We've already tried asking nicely." And, "Sure, we have all this corn, but the leaves and hairy stuff are really hard to digest."
Tune in tomorrow, everyone, to watch me turn water into solid cubes using only the powers of my mind. I will also provide my own recipe for combining a creamy peanut paste with fruit purée on bread to create a tasty and unexpected treat! Don't miss it!