My husband is spoiled. He married a woman who likes to cook—and serve leftovers. I am spoiled too, for he never complains—and I mean never. Here are my five tips for the cook who wants to find her way to her husband's stomach.
A good set of knives. I have Pampered Chef. I do not store them in those wooden knife holders. Used to, but one time I pulled one out and found a smashed up bug on the knife. I promptly bleached all the knives and threw out the wooden block. Sorry sister Brenda, I think you gave me that thing. But I made up for it by showing her how having a large butcher knife to chop up onions and veggies is a lot easier that digging out a chopper and having to clean up all the small parts. I store my knives on my counter top in a Longaberger crock so I can grab them.
A great cookbook. It helps if it is a three-ring—a cook does not need the frustration of trying to keep the pages flat. My husband bought for me, or should I say for him, a Taste of Home cookbook for my birthday at my request. He does not mind me trying new recipes, but I will not be buying anymore $50 sides of beef like I did one year. Tried to make beef Wellington. Total flop. But that setback did not stop me from continuing to try new things. Chris and my step-daughter Brittany and I have a long-standing joke about recipes and me. I have a hard time making simple things like fried eggs, tomato soup from a can, and mac and cheese from a box. Go figure.
|Harris time 2013 ~ Chris' b-day: Joe & Val's brisket in 2012 ~ Nikki's family in 2009|
The desire to learn. The Pioneer Woman’s website has great recipes and easy instructions for a cook at any skill level. Ree Drummond’s pictures make cooking fun. Her TV show does the same. Because of her, I have these items available each week: garlic, onions, heavy cream, cumin, Italian seasoning, crushed red pepper, fresh mushrooms, bell peppers of all colors, and of course, butter and olive oil. Her show is on the Food Network on Saturday mornings. I had never heard of The Pioneer Woman until our neighbor, Travis Ball, who has had business dealings with the Drummonds, told me about her being one of the top bloggers in America. This was back when I did not even know what blogging was. Ironically, my husband graduated with one of the Drummonds from Pawhuska High School in Oklahoma.
|our backyard eating spot back ~ this is when Ev met Erik in July 2008|
The desire to serve others. On more than one occasion, I have crammed many people around two tables in our tiny house to enjoy a meal I prepared. Sometimes we end up in the garage or outside under the pavilion. These are the best of times to me. Family, friends, food, and a reason to get together. I even made my own 40th birthday meal when family came down to Kansas in 2006. My brother-in-law Rick could not believe how I was up at seven in the morning preparing ribs for the noon meal. Sometimes, I flub up, like not knowing the lack of power of a borrowed crock pot and the food is not ready, but that's when a sister-in-law like Tammy steps in to save the day. So humble yourself and ask for help.
|preparing one of my birthday meals in my pajamas|
Color. In a couple weeks when we will all be loosening our belt buckles a bit after the big meal, remember that someone is planning right now on how to make your Thanksgiving feast enjoyable. Not every meal can be a spread like that, but presenting an attractive plate full of color, as my high school home ec teacher Kathy Olsen taught us to do, is just as important as the taste of the food.
|my pretty plate of Aunt Grace's lasagna ~ a favorite of my brother-in-law Lawrence's|
Do you have any words of advice as we enter the holiday season of eating and entertaining? How about short cuts or tips for not getting stressed out about it all?