Kitchen Adventures

John’s cooking is improving.  It really is!  He made chicken and noodles the other night and it was, dare I say it, almost as good as mine.  Since he used chicken, rather than pork, in his entree, I have tangible evidence that he can learn from past mistakes (Men Are from Mars, John Is from OGLE-TR-56b).  However, he still experiences a misstep from time to time.  In fact, every time he cooks the potential exists for an unexpected adventure.

For the last few weeks, he has been fixated on finding uses for the various bags of dried beans we have on hand that do not include meat in the recipe.  He certainly is no vegetarian so I had no explanation for his obsession to eschew meat in this instance.  In fact, ham and beans and red beans and rice with sausage are two of his favorite meals.  When I asked him to explain why the recipe had to be devoid of meat, all he would say was that he wanted the beans as a side dish, not the main course.  I told him beans could be the side dish even with meat in the recipe.  With great aggravation in his voice he said, “I don’t want it to have meat in it.  I want it to be a simple side dish like a can of pork and beans.”  I paused for a moment, but he didn’t realize what he had said so I slowly repeated it.  “…a simple side dish like PORK and beans.  I think the message here is that beans don’t have a distinct taste of their own so they need meat of some sort to add flavor.”  I could hear the defeat in his voice as he said, “Shut up.”

Despite my objections, he found a recipe for Cajun beans, put the beans in a large bowl to soak overnight, and transferred them to the crockpot the next morning.  When I got home from work and saw the amount of beans he had cooked that night, I started to ask him if the Duggars were coming over for supper, but we don’t watch “19 Kids and Counting,” and most popular culture references are lost on him anyway.  Instead I took a small helping, crossed my fingers, and hoped for the best.  Unlike the pork and noodles he once fixed, the beans were edible.  Unfortunately, when he asked what I thought about them, the kindest thing I could think to say was that they were tender.  They weren’t unpleasant, but they were definitely bland and fairly tasteless, at least in my opinion.  He professed to love them.  That’s a good thing because he’s going to be eating them for a LONG time.

As I said, his cooking is improving, but I think he needs to perfect the basics before he gets too adventurous.  I do appreciate his efforts and the increased free time I have now that I don’t do all the cooking.  In fact, it is so nice to share that task that I will happily follow along on his kitchen misadventures.

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