I enjoy cooking. Always have. But as Chef Morimoto said about Bobbie Flay, “He is no chef!”
Through the years I have made some pretty wonderful things. I’ve spent many an afternoon listening to music while creating new and exciting dishes. Some hits, some not so much – but it has always brought me great pleasure and some deliciously interesting meals.
But then there came the children.
Working full time, sports, scouts, parties, doctor’s appointments, gymnastics, practices with three kids…. We are LUCKY these days to get a box or two of hamburger helper on the table. And I hate it.
So on my wonderful handful of days off, I have been relishing time in the kitchen. I’ve got two new cookbooks in the house and I’m ready to treat my children to real food. Delicious food. Food that takes more than a box and cheap ground beef and twenty stolen minutes before homework and laundry.
After watching Julie and Julia a few weeks ago, can you guess what my first dish was? You guessed it. Raise your voice high, wiggle your head and say, “Boof Bourg-en-youghn. Bon Appetite!” Sunday night I plopped down on the couch with cookbook in hand to watch the old black and white French Chef Boeuf Bourguignon episode.
Monday was the day. I woke up early, opened Julia Child’s French cook book and began my adventure in Boeuf Bourguignon. Everyone was asleep as I perfectly browned the meat , mixed spices, checked exactly what stage my butter was in… it was a beautiful thing. If the heavenly smells emanating from my kitchen were any clue to tonight’s dinner, my family was going to love me.
Many pans later, my Boeuf Bourguignon, onions and mushrooms were complete. I even cut my mushrooms on the bias, just as she instructed. Did I mention my oven is broken? It took SKILLZ to pull this off.
As everyone served their food, I watched and waited. I held my breath. I listened. And then I listened some more. Uhhh… anyone? Dinner? Your THOUGHTS?!
My oldest son: “The meat is good but a little dry.” Ummm HELLOOOOO I don’t have Julia’s butcher, money, casserole dish OR a working OVEN!
My daughter, flipping her hand side to side: “Ummm…. Not so much.”
And finally, my middle boy summed it all up: “Too much flavor.”
Honestly. Do you think Julia Child was ever accused of TOO MUCH FLAVOR?
Sigh. I was doomed the moment I sliced my first mushroom. With my gastroparesis, I could only take a taste of beef, and suffered greatly later that night. But what I tasted was FABULOUS. It had richness, flavor and depth.
Tonight was Jamie Oliver’s Crunchy Garlic Chicken. Oh my GOODNESS was it first-rate. My youngest? “Mom, I LOVE THIS CHICKEN! I want to eat it EVERY NIGHT!” My oldest? “Mom, this is the best chicken I’ve ever had. Honestly! Normally your chicken is dry – but this is actually really GOOD!”
I just can’t win. Julia, I made your Boeuf Bourguignon. I thought it rocked. My children thought it had too much flavor. Forgive them. And by the way, how do you say Hamburger Helper in French?