Friday, January 13, 2012

Fowl Play

My husband is considering nominating me for the show "Worst Cooks in America," and I think I may actually have quite a good chance at winning the title—assuming the title actually goes to the worst cook, and not the most-reformed previously worst cook.

Actually, I don't think I'd even make it through the first round—mostly because I'd quickly be disqualified from the category of "cook" and placed firmly in the category of "meat mangler," or "expert re-heater."  I'm that bad.

When we were first dating, my husband once asked me to boil a potato for him so he'd have a head-start on dinner when he got home from work.  He arrived to find a smoke-filled apartment and a very frustrated girlfriend angrily banging about in the kitchen. When he asked me what was going on, I pointed at the offending potato in the pot and yelled, "It just won't cook!"

He looked at the pot, which held a whole potato sitting in an inch of water and said, "Um, didn't you realize you had to chop it up?"

I had wondered why the water kept boiling out and the potato was burning on the bottom.

My husband knew exactly what he was getting into when he married me, and thankfully he didn't really mind, because he absolutely loves to cook.  On any given day, by seven in the morning he has already decided what he will be making for dinner, and little plans are hatching in his brain as to how he should embellish the meal to make it as "gourmet" as possible.  

For Christmas this year he asked for a subscription to "Cooks Illustrated," which is pretty much the equivalent of a Playboy magazine to him.  When his first issue arrived in the mail yesterday, he tore the plastic off with abandon and hungrily scanned the pages—eyes bulging and mouth watering.  As I gaped at him, he muttered, "Mmmmm.... Food Porn...."

Although I've tried, I just don't understand his passion for cooking or his zest for grocery shopping.  My husband looks at the meat aisle in a supermarket and sees an extravaganza of possibilities glistening with juicy goodness, whereas I just look at it and see lots and lots of innards and pieces of dead things. 

This is why, if I had to cook for myself, I would quickly become a vegetarian.  I don't see how chopping up bloody dead things could be tolerable—let alone fun, and the idea of dealing with raw meat just disgusts me. In fact, I pretty much feel like I need to don a HAZMAT suit to just approach a piece of raw meat, and afterwards I always feel like I need to shower off.  Even after washing my hands numerous times with antibacterial soap and going through several applications of hand sanitizer (which I apply generously and often up to the elbow), I still feel like I have somehow been infected with some insidious germ that will turn me into one of those rabid, vomitous zombies you see in horror movies.

So you can imagine my frustration when, this afternoon, my daughter asked for soup and I realized we were out of the canned variety.  I asked her if she would settle for chicken nuggets, and she said yes....but when I looked, the closest thing we had to nuggets was uncooked breaded fish patties.  Being completely unsure of how long it would take to cook said fish patties in the microwave (only baking instructions appeared on the package, along with a prominent warning about the dangers of eating undercooked fish), I returned them to the freezer.

That's when I remembered that I had recently bought a collection of gourmet, ready-in-twenty-minutes soups-in-a-box.  I picked up my daughter's favorite—chicken noodle—and glanced at the package.

"This soup is SO EASY to make, we don't even bother giving you slow cooker instructions!" the box boasted.  "Delicious homemade-style soup in under twenty minutes!"  I decided to go for it.  I mean, heck, how could I bungle pre-packaged chicken soup?

I filled a pot with the requisite six cups of water and patted myself on the back for remembering to use the filtered water from the fridge instead of tap water.  I put the pot on the stove and set the heat to high, and when it boiled I added the contents of both packets from the box.  I stirred it a few times and walked away.

When I returned twenty minutes later, what I had was a thick yellow liquid with tiny bits of unrecognizable colored stuff in it.  I frowned, picked up the box again and looked closer at the directions.

They read:

1. Put six cups of water in a pot and add chopped chicken.
2. When the chicken is nearly done, add the second packet with the noodles.
3. Cook an additional ten minutes for the noodles to soften.
4. When noodles are nearly done, add the seasoning packet and cook an additional 2 minutes.
5. Add additional water if necessary and season to taste.

OOPS.

I decided that the worst mistake I had made was forgetting the chicken, and that the mess was possibly still salvageable.  (And no, I had obviously not noticed that there was no chicken in the packets in the box.)

I had a sinking feeling in my belly as I opened the freezer door and confronted the frozen chicken breasts my husband had neatly stacked in there.  I was repulsed and had no interest in taking those things out of the bag, but my daughter was hungry, so I faced my fear.  I clumsily shook the breasts out of the bag and onto a dinner plate (taking care not to let any part of them touch my person) and stuck the plate in the microwave.

Hmmm....

I had no idea how long it would take to cook two chicken breasts in the microwave, but since we have a rather intelligent model I decided to press the "frozen entree" button.  After all, the chicken was frozen, and it was sort of like an entree.  It was certainly a better button to push than "frozen vegetables," I reasoned.

My daughter was now stomping around at my feet angrily because at least half an hour had gone by and I had not—as of yet—provided her with anything to eat.

I stared at the chicken as it turned, willing it to cook evenly and thoroughly so I wouldn't have to deal with anything quasi raw-ish.  

The microwave beeped and told me it had a minute and a half left.  I was confused—the chicken was clearly still pink on top, but the sides were smoking.  I pressed the "stop" button and removed the plate.  My daughter began jumping up and down at my side like a yippie dog, yelling "My chichin!  My chichin!!" 

I calmly told her she would have to wait because it wasn't ready yet, picked up a knife and began clumsily sawing off the rubbery edges.  Anything that looked edible got thrown into the soup pot.

Halfway through the massacre I realized I was using a knife with a wooden handle and nearly panicked.  Wood is porous.  I had contaminated the knife!  I would probably have to throw it away!  But I had no time to think... my daughter was screaming "Chichin!!  Chiiiiiichiiiiiinnnnnn!!!"

"Yes, yes, honey, just wait," I soothed, grabbing a second knife with a plastic handle and continuing to hack at the offending chunks.  My mom called in the middle of this, and just as she was exclaiming, "Dear Lord, if your husband ever dies, you'll all starve," it occurred to me that this whole incident might make for an entertaining blog post.

I got off the phone, washed my hands five times, sanitized them three times, and then took a picture of the hateful chunks still left on the plate.

 
In all fairness, I'm pretty sure this plate of mangled chicken harbored the same amount of resentment for me as I felt for it.

My daughter was just about rioting now, since none of the chicken I had promised her was yet in her belly.  She shrieked "Stop it!" as I dropped two handfuls of decimated meat into the pot, and then she burst into sobs when I put the above mess back in the microwave.

"Wungry!!!" she wailed.  "Wungry chichin!!!"

"Yes, yes honey! Chicken soup!  For you!  It's just not done!" I yelled over her protests, hoping she heard sincerity in my voice rather than panic.

My daughter was openly sobbing now, wailing in that "waaaaa...waaaahhh!!!" way that only little children do. (I've heard each child is specially calibrated to produce the specific frequency needed to tear its mother's heart to shreds.)

She pointed to the microwave and yelled mournfully, "Chichin in dare!!!  Waaaaahhh!"

I stared at the microwave with intensity, willing the chicken to cook dammit!!  When I saw smoke signals from within, I took it to mean that the meat was done, and I hit the "stop" button.  I pulled out the sizzling meat, hacked off the burnt bits, shredded the rest and dropped it in the still-boiling pot.

I turned to my daughter and said in the most excited voice I could muster, "It's almost ready!!  Chicken soup!  Yes!  For YOU!!!"  I'm sure I looked like a glassy-eyed lunatic at this point, but apparently it was enough to convince my daughter that food was really imminent.  She walked over to the counter and pointed at the bowl she wanted.

In all honesty, I wanted to let the soup cook for another ten minutes just to make sure there weren't any slightly undercooked bits I had accidentally missed, but I realized that my paranoia was getting the better of me and that no germs could have possibly survived two trips through the microwave and a rolling boil. 

I ladled the soup into my daughter's bowl, dropped some ice cubes in it to cool it faster, turned on her favorite Barney video and installed her at her table.  She blew on the soup, picked up a large chunk of chicken and stuffed it into her mouth.  As she chewed I observed and waited for any signs that there might be a zombie transformation taking place.

When she was done chewing and had apparently swallowed the piece unscathed, I asked her hopefully, "Is the soup yummy?"

(Pause)

"No."

(She never says no; chicken noodle soup is her favorite.)

I questioned her again.  "Is the soup tasty?"

"No."

*sigh*

It certainly looked good enough.  Surprisingly, after all that had transpired, I was actually left with something that resembled chicken noodle soup!



Unfortunately I can't tell you how it tastes because I couldn't bring myself to try any of it after handling all of those repulsive chicken pieces.

I think I'll feed it to my husband. Yes... that's it... I'll clean the kitchen until it sparkles, and then when he arrives home I'll proudly present my homemade chicken soup.  I'll tell him I wanted to cook him dinner for once, and that I lovingly prepared the soup in his honor. 

Perfect!  He'll never know.....

That is, of course, unless a zombie transformation occurs before he gets home.  Then I imagine I'd have some explaining to do.

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63 comments:

  1. oh I can so totally relate... I hate to cook... and baking is always a bust... not worth the mess I make to do either....

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  2. Oh. My. Gosh. Jenn... How do these things happen to you?? I felt stressed out just reading this post. I'm laughing so hard I almost wet my pants (I've birthed 4 children). Hey, if your hubby wants to do the cooking, let him have at it!!!
    Love you, sister!
    ~Erin

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  3. Meat Mangler's MomJanuary 13, 2012 at 5:16 PM

    After reading this, I repeat my previous statement, "If anything happens to Ethan, you'll starve."

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  4. HAHAHAHAHAHAAHHAHAHAHAHA! Oh my gosh! Seriously, your blog is SO FUNNY! I usually go through a myriad of emotions: "oh no", followed by HYSTERICAL laughing, followed by more laughing with tears, then unable to breathe, laughing harder. LOL! I am a TERRIBLE cook, and I can soooo relate to that pile of chicken bits. hahaha! Thanks for the laugh. Your blog is awesome, and I find my self anxiously awaiting whatever story you are gonna share next ;) HAPPY FRIDAY! (your end result really did look GOOD!)

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  5. If you husband ever goes out of town, please let us know. We will ship some pre-cooked food! :)

    Your story made me laugh (not at your expense) but rather because you are okay laughing at yourself. Thanks for sharing!

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  6. Haha! Great post! Great laughs.

    I'm a new follower! I also have a blog hop up if you'd like to join. You can find me and link up at www.adeliciousobsession.com

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  7. Jenn, you are a blessed, blessed woman! How wonderful that your husband cooks for you and loves it. And I fear your mother might be right. If something ever happens to your dear hubby, you all just might starve. Lol!

    Sadly, I can somewhat relate to this story. I have a problem with not reading the directions of a recipe in its entirety before starting. Then I get halfway through the recipe and go "aw crap!" I'm getting better about it though. I suppose when it happens often enough, one starts to learn - slowly.

    And I don't blame you. Raw meat totally grosses me out too. But I handle it anyway, because if I didn't I'm pretty sure my family would starve. Hahah!

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  8. HAHAHAAHAHA, oh my goodness! I laughed so hard reading this. I wish I could relate, but I actually like cooking and I'm pretty good at it. I'm just lucky, I suppose, and never found it that difficult. But, oh, seeing your troubles made me see the other side. I could actually here your daughter screaming and see the panicked look in your eye.

    Fantastic post! Oh, and you're not alone with the dead meat thing in the grocery store. Although I like to cook, I've been a vegetarian most of my life and only just started figuring out poultry. I can't bring myself to do the red meat. It's so dead-animally. Ughh.

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  9. WOW!!! Ha ha ha ha! Yea, that's pretty bad! Well you know. Some people just don't have it. It's a good thing your husband loves cooking. It helps balance things out in the family. :)

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  10. OMG, Jenn, that's terrible! Maybe the fact that we are so different is why we were such good friends, eh?

    Reading your thoughts on handling a very benign piece of FROZEN chicken breast only brought to mind some hilarious daydreams ... daydreams in which your husband behaved like mine- slapping a skinned quarter of a hog on the kitchen prep table and exclaiming, "Here you go, Love. Call me when you need your knife sharpened!"

    HA HA HA HA HAHA!

    Love you!!

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  11. I actually couldn't comment on this yesterday because I was laughing, then feeling bad for laughing, then laughing harder because damn, you are funny! I absolutely adore your blog! Tagged you over at 75% Hippie. I always look forward to your next post!
    Susan
    http://75percenthippie.blogspot.com
    http://happyhippieheart.blogspot.com

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  12. Oh wow. I feel your pain.

    When dating my husband (and he knew what he was getting into like yours), I blew up a pressure cooking making him a meal. I had made it before, just didn't add enough water. Ugh.

    I usually fail when I go off of the recipe. Apparently those aren't 'suggestions', it's really how you should could it :)

    Regina
    www.thecrazynutsmom.com

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  13. Ok, you get props! It was a great attempt! But after the first disaster...bundle up and go to Micky D's! Or somewhere!

    My friend's husband is the same way....drools over food magazines. He is an amazing cook! She can boil water and that's about it.

    And as her mother-in-law once states "Hon, we can't all be good in all rooms of the house!".

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  14. Visiting from Exposure 99%!

    Love your blog! Now following you via GFC.

    Mind if you follow me back, too?

    Thanks in advance!

    http://www.therebelsweetheart.com/

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  15. You are sooo lucky your husband cooks!! I am totally with you on carving up raw meat. I was a vegetarian for 13 years. I'm not anymore...but having to cook with meat still pretty much freaks me out.

    Your soup actually looks tasty!

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  16. Oh, Jenn, another kindred spirit. I have always managed to find men that LOVE to cook. Yeah, us. The kitchen is usually the worst place for me to be. I have ruined a half dozen pots because I've let water evaporate when making hard boiled eggs- unintentionally, it's just that I get distracted. I've burned more chicken than I care to remember so I try to play to my strengths. The BEDROOM! Great post. xo

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  17. Funny! Joining you from the bloghop! You can visit and follow me at brainlessmomof7.blogspot.com and twitter @brainlessmomof7
    facebook brainlessmomof7

    Looking forward to more reading...

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  18. Oh my gosh, you are hilarious. I, too, am married to a man who cooks and I am a woman who can't, won't, refuses, however you want to look at it. I have touched raw chicken ONE time in 31 years of marriage and vowed never ever ever to repeat the experience...and I haven't. Kudos to women of the world who can AND do cook. I love your blog. I'm your new follower from the Tuesday Train. Hope you will follow me back at www.mamawsplace4.blogspot.com.

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  19. Lol! This was soooo me a few years ago! My husband would cringe whenever he heard that I attempted to cook something. I set a microwave on fire defrosting green beans, an oven on fire with just-add-water cookies and a stovetop on fire through many failed attempts at soups. My disasters always end in fires! After some practice and a ton of patience from my husband, I have improved. At least, there hasn't been a fire for awhile, lol!

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  20. Thanks for all your hysterical comments! You have me laughing! I thought I'd give an update! I offered the soup to my hubby for dinner that night, but he frowned at it and made a frozen pizza instead.

    However, he did have some of it for lunch a couple of days ago, and he described it as "edible, if a little bland." I still haven't tried any. I can't get the meat massacre out of my head. YUCK!!

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  21. Following you @ GFC and Twitter via Tuesday blog hop

    http://www.sjb-myphotopage.com/2012/01/facebook-fan-page-monday-1.html

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  22. LOL Jenn...oh girl you crack me up. I'm not much of a cook either, and yet I do it almost every single freaking night! My husband can BBQ, but that's about all.

    Meat massacre, LMAO! At least it was "edible"
    Sharon

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  23. This reminds me so much of a time when my best friend called me crying because she was trying to make bacon for her hungry son and she couldn't figure out why it kept popping as her son screamed behind her.
    Following you via the Totally Tuesday blog hop!!

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  24. HAHAHA
    LOL
    At least he likes to cook ---or ya'll go hungry or broke eatingn out =^D

    I like to dabble and I love watching cooking shows, but there are many other things I rather be doing!!!

    poping in with vB =)

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  25. Great post. I found you through the Flock together hop. I look forward to seeing more of your posts.

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  26. I love cooking - HATE doing dishes! So, I don't do as much of it as I'd like. LOL - I laughed so hard reading this - I'm sorry!

    Congrats on being the featured blogger this week on the Hump Day Hop! I think we are already following each other but would love a visit.

    Tina 'the book lady'
    http://familyliteracy2.blogspot.com
    http://givingnsharing.blogspot.com

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  27. Such a great post! I also hate working with chicken.

    I'm a new follower from the blog hop and you can find me at www.lucasandmahina.com!

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  28. Thanks for stopping by my blog and giving me some growth advice with my son!! I am your newest follower and you are hilarious!! Love your tweet about chocolate...lol!! Have a great day

    Julie
    www.myclothdiaperstash.com

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  29. Haha loved this post! And I love the title of you blog! Just stopping by from the blog hop to thank you for joining us :) Looking forward to following you!

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  30. Hi!

    Just wanted to stop by and say hi! I'm your newest follower from the Weekend Gathering Hop. :)

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  31. Ha! You tag line at the blog hop was spot on! I can't wait to read more! :)I'm a new fan and follower from Mommas Like Me's Follow Me Wednesday blog hop! :) Hope to see you! xo, Reannah

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  32. Congratulations! I awarded you the Versatile blog award! Check it out at http://www.mybizarrefamily.com/2012/01/i-received-award.html

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  33. Joining you via the blog hop.. love your blog. you can find me at http://purplechronicle.blogspot.com

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  34. I can't wait to see America's worst ched when you are on...Glad to be your newest follower. You can follow me back at http://thelittlelilypad.blogspot.com

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  35. Great, great story! First I am jealous that your husbands loves to cook and is good at it. Jealous. Second, I'm impressed that through what sounded like a disaster, you pulled it together and made what looked like an edible soup. Well done. Lastly, I'm kind of grossed out by chickens after your picture and description. That part I will try to forget.

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  36. Now following :) Cant wait to read more

    Hugs and Happy Blogging
    Sami
    http://simplysamisthoughts.blogspot.com

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  37. I always love reading your posts and so appreciate your well-thought out comments...you inspire me to really support others in the blogging world-just as you do! Two words with regard to the above: George Forman. Love it! Such a life saver, and no steamy piles of undercooked chicken to manhandle. Thank goodness you have ONE cook in your house!

    Have a fantastic weekend.

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  38. Funny!

    I'm following you from Finding New Friends Weekend Blog Hop over at Adventures of J-Man and Millerbug. Hope you can follow back.

    http://diapersandstethoscope.blogspot.com

    See you around!

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  39. ur blog is nice
    new follower of ur blog
    now follow my blog
    http://glamorousgirlblog.blogspot.com/

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  40. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!!!! THAT was about the FUNNIEST thing I've read in AGES!!! I love cooking, and am pretty good at it, but I hate touching dead animal, especially if I have to then eat it (honestly, I don't even like seeing dead meat). I use surgical gloves - it helps! I'm pregnant right now, and can't even look at dead chicken or I throw up - I'm only this week able to eat chicken (which I normally love provided I didn't have to touch it before cooking) without throwing up! I'd become a vegetarian, but I love steak (rare, ironically) too much ;)

    Thanks for following my blog, Little Bit Of Wonderful! I'm glad you like it, and I hope to see you around - you'll DEFINITELY be seeing more of me! :) I write humor posts, too, though I tend to be self conscious about it (my face-to-face humor is terrible, but people seem to really dig my written humor), so there are only a few posts up on my blog right now. If you're curious, you can search "stupid dog" or "something important" to see two of my favorites :) Take care!

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  41. That is pretty hilarious! Thanks for linking up.

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  42. First, I see that comment just above mine. Hmmm. Second, I am also a terrible cook, so I can appreciate this story. You know it's bad when even your kid who is desperately hungry won't eat it! LOL! Anyway, luv ur story. New follower of ur story. Now come see my story.

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  43. Very funny!
    I'm all about dinner in a minute, even though I do love to cook (I DO understand your revulsion to any raw meat, though, which is why I won't cook it either!).
    My little one loves chicken soup, too (...not sure where exactly that came fron - we never had it in our house until she was eating real food). Although, I would never have been nearly as creative as you in coming up with something else. lol.

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  44. I can't even tell you how scary it is that we're so much alike. Ha...check out the name of my blog!! The only big difference it that my husband doesn't like to cook so we're starving all the time over here.

    Your post brings me back to the time I had to bring a pan of brownies to work for a little lunch event next day. That evening after I mixed up the batter, I put the pan into the oven to bake. The next morning we awoke to the smell of charbroiled brownies. I had forgotten about them and baked them all night.

    Thanks for the laughs!!

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  45. jenn, omygoodness, i am laughing so hard. (as always!!) gosh, i can relate to this post so much!!
    ahhhh, i had such a perfect picture!! when you were talking about the microwave smoking, i had tears in my eyes! the way your daughter says chicken is adorable!
    i think it looked absolutely delicious!!

    my husband never gets excited when i say i'm going to cook. he's all, "i'll do it hun, go sit down!" he knows better!
    the first meal i ever made him was angel hair with grilled chx. the chicken was still pink inside and the pasta was so overcooked it tasted and sounded horrific. i won't go into detail with what it sounded like! hahaha

    thank you for the smiles! i hope you're doing well! <3
    xoxoxoxo
    maria

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  46. Oh I REALLY needed that laugh!! I'm still laughing as I type! (With you not AT you of course!) I found you through the blog hop, and I really like your blog! I look forward to being your new loyal follower, when you have a chance, come by for a visit at my blog, Home is Where my Heart is @ http://cathhasablog.blogspot.com/ and make sure to say hi! :)

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  47. Thank you for sharing your life with us. In my household my husband does all the cooking, but I have to wash all the dishes. Unfortunately he is not the greatest cook, so most of the time we end up going out for dinner.

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  48. Too funny!! I will never see chicken noodle soup in the same way again!

    Thanks for linking up to Finding the Funny!
    Anna

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  49. Ha ha you are so funny! I feel like this ALL the time! Cooking is just so HARD! Thanks for your sweet sweet comment on our baby news last week. You are very kind Jenn! Love your blog, can't wait to keep reading, you are hilarious!

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  50. This was so awesome! I love "chichin". It actually really looks good! I know what you mean about handling the raw meat. Yuck. I actually fill the tub up with hand sanitizer and roll around in it after handling meat. :)

    (Thanks for linking up with the #findingthefunny party. Hope you come back next week!)

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  51. Ha ha ha :) I'm totally the same way. The only thing I can cook is Mac and Cheese. My hubby does all the cooking. He's so good that he doesn't even need recipes and I look at him like he's crazy. If I ever tried to go off the recipe we'd be eating something that resembled ... paste? rubber? Who knows what it was supposed to be originally!

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  52. hey jenn! i just had to pop in and tell you i thought of you tonight! my mom told me she ordered "meaningful beauty" - cindy crawford's "miracle" skincare line. she then mentioned how she keeps seeing a commerical for the "WEN haircare kit"...i was laughing out loud. i told her all about your funny and entertaining post!! and all about charles and his mysterious monkey-luring ways! :)
    hope you're doing well!
    have a wonderful weekend! <3
    xoxoxo
    maria

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  53. Hey, Jenn! I just saw the sweet comment you left on my blog, so I thought I'd check out your blog. You are hysterical!!! I'm going to follow you, too. ;)

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  54. You are so funny... really! :)
    I'm not the best cook, but I try my hardest to please the hubby- at least I used to, when we were still together :)

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  55. If it makes you feel any better, that's a really pretty plate the chicken pieces are on.

    Great post! As always, I laughed out loud!

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  56. Hey, I just found you on Studio 30 Plus in the Motherhood group, and I loved your post - I HAD to start following your blog! Coincidentally, I blogged this week about my own total inability to cook (also an undercooked chicken issue) at http://hollowtreeventures.blogspot.com/. I totally share your plight as a Non-Gourmet-Chef Mommy; I called the post Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner, but in reality there were no winners...
    Looking forward to more of your funny posts!

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  57. You are too funny. How nice to not have to cook, actually. I'm not great, but I'm not bad. It's just a have to, you know.

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  58. We ARE long lost twins! I hate cooking meat. My hands are raw today because I attempted to cook fish last night and I had to wash my hands maybe 20 times throughout the process. Good luck!

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  59. My hubby asked me why didn't I cook anymore and I told him it was because I always had to trash about half of it cause no one was eating it. His comment was cook something good and then it won't get trashed. Bad Move on his part! He is the one that does the grocery shopping.

    Following via Give a Hoot Blog Hop. GFC Follower.

    Have a Blessed Day!

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  60. Ha! Sounds like me, although I'm finally getting the hang of some things! It feels good to be able to cook some things that I never could just a few months ago!
    Thanks for stopping by the Mom Journal!

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