My wife's been quite ill lately and I'm trying to take care of her while running the household, somewhat. I mean, it's not like the place is falling apart and constantly needs an array of Band-Aids and plaster patches or anything. Things can pretty much maintain with some cosmetic strokes, like keeping on top of the dirty dishes, and I suppose I should do some household laundry tonight.
Last night I made dinner for us and, not knowing what to make, peeked in the fridge for a primary ingredient. There was a tub of tofu (sealed, packed in water) that has been sitting there for some length of time: I didn't buy it, gods know I never would, but there it was. I looked up a quick recipe on All Recipes--actually, just typed "recipe" into a Google search and received their little search engine widget for the site, which I think is super-awesome. And yes, I'm quite aware of all the other recipe Web sites out there (Rebecca prefers Epicurious) but this one suits my needs, and no one has made a compelling argument as to why I should switch.
So I found a recipe for "tofu parmigiana." I thought, Why the hell not, and printed it out. It had a small list of ingredients, of which all were represented in our kitchen, and the total cooking time was under an hour. I created the breading--Rebecca's gluten-intolerant so I used corn crumbs instead--and dredged the thick slices of tofu before frying them in an oiled skillet. That part was the hardest but I managed it well with a short trial-and-error curve. After that, baking it in the sauce (lacking tomato sauce I used a jar of puttanesca sauce) took care of itself, and with the addition of some vermicelli and a side of broccoli florets, I was a little impressed that I hadn't screwed anything up. Indeed, all the food was ready at the same time and we ate it while everything was hot.
That was last night. That was a lifetime ago.
Tonight I boiled up some rice noodle pasta and put some green beans in the microwave to thaw. Realizing I wasn't preparing any protein, I threw a couple eggs into the noodles while they were cooking. The whole mess boiled down to a thick stew, which discouraged me. I dumped more puttanesca into it with some black olives and shredded some white cheddar cheese to mix in as well. It tastes great (to me; Rebecca won't touch it) but it looks like vomit, I will freely admit.
That experience is more what I expect when I cook. The night before was a "curious statistical anomaly," an irreproducible effect. I am more accustomed to producing some technically valid epicurean disaster that provokes pitying yet contemptuous laughter in women, while it carries all the nutrients my body needs. Between the two nights, I've still improved my cooking average.