Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Speaking of Edibility . . .

This has been a challenging summer when it comes to keeping the household fed.  There are a few reasons for this.  One being, of course, that whole gestating thing that makes elaborate cooking seem a huge waste of time when I could be lying on the couch eating my own special blend of peanuts and chocolate chips and re-reading a Barbara Michaels novel for the fifth time.

Also there is the toddler, who doesn't so much DO long periods of any one activity, including cooking; the lack of produce from the garden; and the heat.

In actual fact, the heat probably is the greatest limiting factor.  I just cannot stand to turn the stove on when it's already 85 degrees in the kitchen with 75 percent humidity.  The MiL can do this, and then sit in said hellish kitchen and eat the prepared meal with apparent enjoyment.  Even if I manage to get something cooked, the last thing I want to do after doing the cooking is sit at the table in the kitchen and eat it with sweat running down my face.

So not appetizing.

Sadly, it is also not appetizing for me to sit down to a meal entirely comprised of salad or a sandwich.  After a couple of days of scratch meals, everyone--including me--starts to feel as if the hunger will never be assuaged with anything but a real, honest-to-God cooked meal.  To say nothing of the raging hunger A. is left with after expending five million calories nailing shingles onto the roof.  No one who does that for five hours is going to be satisfied with tuna salad.

And that is why I have started using my Crockpot a lot.

I'm not really a huge fan of slow cookers.  I feel like anything I make in a slow cooker tastes better made in the oven or on the stove.  But when the stove and the oven are non-players, the Crockpot becomes the only way to cook a large hunk of beef.  So at least once a week, I put a big chunk of (unbrowned--OH THE LAZINESS) meat in the Crockpot with onions and barbecue sauce or steak sauce or soy sauce or hoisin sauce--or whatever cheater already-in-the-bottle sauce can be dumped directly in that bad boy--plug the Crockpot in in the shop to keep its heat from affecting the kitchen, and sit back on my lazy haunches.  It takes approximately five minutes in the morning and there is cooked food at the end of the day.

I'm not going to pretend it's anything but desperation cooking, but when the options are Crockpot chuck roast or . . . eggs again, the Crockpot is a pretty good option.

Someday I'll again be able to cook the way I like to, but not today.  And not tomorrow.  But someday I can relegate the Crockpot back to the far reaches of the pantry and get to know my Dutch oven again.  And that will be a happy day indeed.


Anonymous said...

You know that you can wrap potatos or corn-on-the-cob in foil and cook those in a crockpot right?

Just a thought... :)

Hang in thre!

Anonymous said...

Crockpots, frozen veggies, welcome to most people's world.
That's why restaurants do so well. Real cooking.
No one knows how to cook anymore.
Or has the, I am wrong, they don't take the time....too many activities to run the children to.
I am fairly convinced Cubby will be spending most of his free time doing something at home to learn.
I do use my crockpot, but not every day.

tu mere said...

I'm thinking A. is really appreciative. Can't have the best handy man ever wasting away. Even under the best of circumstances, summer cooking is a real challenge.

Joellen said...

The following recipe is suprisingly good. Of course it is not as good as real lasagna, but it is easy and does not heat up the kitchen.

FinnyKnits said...

Guess after a long day of shingling in such heat, A. doesn't feel like firing up the grill? And it's not like you're going to be doing that in your current state.

That's our go-to when it's hot like it is (it's hot in CA now, previously the only state aside from WA with reasonable temps) and I'm not sure how I'd live without it because my knee jerk reaction is to just not eat.