No, I Really Can’t Stand the Heat

Cooking stresses me out, yet for some reason, now that we have a “real” kitchen, I have the urge to keep trying it.

I’ve made two meals so far, both which turned out okay and will be used again with some minor tweaks. It’s not really the meals that stress me out. It’s just the kitchen experience. Growing up, I never had any interest in cooking or meal planning. Now I go through phases, and those phases are normally brought on my a change in living space. They run their course fairly quickly, but that doesn’t mean I don’t try to get my time’s worth out of them when they do come around.

The first dish I made wasn’t horrible. It was a Dorito Taco Casserole and it turned out well. The thing with anything Mexican, though, is that I like it to have crunch, so I had to add a few extra tortilla chips since baking chips in saucy ingredients tends to soften them up.

Last night, I made a Southwestern Tuna Noodle Casserole. Tuna noodle casserole is one of my favorite meals. My mom swore it was one of the easiest things to make, but I never tried to make it for myself before now. I tweaked the southwestern version a little bit. Instead of using the chopped green chiles it called for (I couldn’t find them at Aldi), I seasoned with red pepper flakes.

What I failed to realize is that while red pepper flakes are good for some heat, you  need something else to season it and bring out the flavor. I didn’t use anything. In fact, I forgot to salt the noodles. So while there was some heat on it, it was also kind of bland in the taste department.*

I don’t stress over whether the food will come out well. For me, it’s the practice of getting around a kitchen. I have a minor fear of heat and fire, so I’m a bit uncomfortable when it comes flame. Whenever I put something in or pull something out of the oven, I know I’m going to burn my fingers on something (I rarely do, in reality).

I constantly drop things and knock into things, so spills are normal.  Raw meat squicks me out. Tuna fish is gross when you drain it from the can.** 

I can never seem to handle pans and dishes well. I’d like to blame it on small hands, but I’m sure it’s because I’m just uncoordinated.

If it’s a stovetop meal, I get splattered with grease, or I freak out if something boils over. If it’s an oven dish, I worry if it’s cooking too much or not enough. Pork and chicken scare me because I’m in a constant state of worry that it’ll be undercooked and I’ll get food poisoning.

Having said all that, I still like looking at recipes and I still like the thought of being able to cook. Over the past few days I’ve used Pinterest to Pin all kinds of recipes that look really good and probably wouldn’t pose much of a challenge if I wanted to try them out. It would give my husband a reprieve since he’s the main cook in our house.

Besides, practice makes perfect. Maybe one day I can get to that point where cooking actually relaxes me.

*The leftovers two days later were actually really good though.
**Also, our roommate’s cat lost his stuff over the tuna smell, a fact I didn’t take into consideration before making the dish. Sorry, Kitty!

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