, , , , , , , , ,

So it has been a while since I posted some of my experiments in the kitchen… and there is a good reason (or rather two good reasons).
The first reason is that I have not really been doing a lot of cooking. We have been eating out again and when we have not gone out, I went back to may favorite meals of frozen chicken nuggets and spaghetti.
The second reason is related to the first… I was trying out recipes from “Cooking with Paula Deen.” Since, life has gotten a bit crazy my husband did the shopping for this cooking adventure. I attempted 3 recipes and each time there was something in the recipe that my husband either could not find at the store or that I failed to describe correctly on the grocery list and he picked up the wrong item. Of course, each of the items missing were central to the dish and so I used the items that I did have to make something else. Thus, I did not actually try any of the three recipes.
We had a lot of spoiled food as a result. I am not creative enough in the kitchen to come up with new recipes that use all the ingredients that were purchased. Really, it was quite a shame.
I figure, I need to admit that I will never be Paula Deen’s protege. This post is my white flag.


 I surrender. I am OK admitting defeat and will vow never to buy the magazine again. I should have known it would go terribly wrong when I saw the caramel apples on the cover (we all know how good I was at making caramel). Furthermore, southern cooking or really even southern living is not something that comes naturally for me.
Although I technically live in the south, I doubt there is a southerner that would mistake me for the proper and wonderfully domestic ladies who were born and raised in the South. I lack that southern hospitality so many of my friends do effortlessly. It is not there, I have looked and came up with nothing.  Trust me… I am jealous of their abilities.

I first recognized the difference in my way of entertaining and the southern way when I lived with a girl in college that was raised by a good southern family.  She had a rule for our apartment and it was “we always have a cake and iced tea ready for guests at all times, because you never know when someone might come to call.”  This idea was foreign to me… I mean I knew that if you were planning a party, that you had to prepare stuff to eat, but just having cakes on hand in case of a drop in guest, or rather for the drop in guest… I couldn’t relate.  She often would spend nights preparing and baking.  It was great because there was always great things to snack on, but I never could understand the joy she got from doing it.  At the time, I just figured that my difference of entertaining style came from my upbringing in California.

Now I am going to grossly overgeneralize what I learned as I grew up in California (keep in mind that I know that there are some great people who may keep cakes on hand for guests in CA and I will offer my apologies to those who are offended that I was not exposed to or failed to remember your wonderful hospitality as I grew up)…

So here is why I think we entertained differently, in Southern California and many of the big cities, traffic is terrible.  I think it is only natural to have a bit of road rage after sitting in your car for an ungodly amount of time … and then when you get home you may not be in the mood to bake a cake.  When are you supposed to find the time to bake cakes for guests?   I remember liking our neighbors (and I assume they liked us too), but I don’t remember people expecting expecting any more than what you had in your pantry or fridge  (really drop in guests did not expect a huge production when it came to food and drink). What it came down to was that people came to see you,  and not because they are hoping for cake.  If they come by to see you, then if all you had was leftover pizza and a box of wine, then that was cool.  As I grew older and lived here longer, I have found that most of my friends are more relaxed when it comes to drop-in guests and can’t remember the last time I was offered cake or really anything fancy, when I dropped by a friend’s house.  Even my friend’s who are stay at home moms don’t bake cakes on a daily basis and to my knowledge prepare fancy meals daily, although that is not to say that there are not ones that do.  It could be that I attract friends that can tolerate my inhospitality, because they are not bakers themselves.

My point is that I may not be the target audience for Paula Deen’s Magazine.  I could not fathom making the large picnic that was recommended for a day of apple-picking mainly because of the preparation that would be involved.  I wonder… Do any of you pack cold Potato-Leek soup for picnics?  Her recipe did not seem to take long but involved word “puree” which instantly scared me off since I was not sure what kitchen device I would use to “puree.”  The bigger problem is that I don’t see myself making a gourmet picnic (that includes pureed anything) for my family.   If I made a guess I think we would pop by a Subway or McDonald’s on the way to or from the orchard and eat as we drove.  If I did make something, my guess would be that ham and cheese sandwiches or PB and J’s would be on the menu.  Sides would include potato chips, cheese-its, and may be a sliced orange or banana.  Picnics to me mean things that you can eat with your hands, are easy to pack and don’t need refrigeration,  and won’t become a huge mess.  I know, I am quite the romanic.

When all was said and done, I had a hard time with selecting 3 meals that we would even like… and then failed to successfully prepare any of them.

Thus, I am going to try one more magazine before making that year long commitment to my cooking magazine soul-mate.  I just got back from the store and I am set to try out 3 recipes from Everyday Food by Martha Stewart.