A handful of problems with cooking


I have troubles when I try to make salsa.

Itís not the salsa thatís the problem. Thatís actually delicious. I had some ideas of my own, incorporated a few suggestions from a friend, and ended up with a really great and unique blend for my signature recipe. And, if I do say so, itís incredible.

It also ends up making a lot.

No, really, a lot.

The problem isnít quality. Itís quantity.

The recipe includes grilled corn and granny smith apples. The ratios usually mean at least two ears of corn. But even if you narrowed it to one, things get out of hand quickly. Donít believe me?

Have you ever made salsa at home?

Ear of corn. Granny smith apple. Red onion, jalapeno, bell pepper, tomato, and donít even get me started on adding a touch of vinegar and lime juice.

I know, of course I could use a half of this and a half of that and cut things down a bit. But then again, I canít do that. I canít make a small batch of salsa. I donít make it for one snack on one afternoon. I make salsa, toss it in the fridge, and enjoy it two or three times a day over multiple days. And thatís where the problems really arrive.

See, if it was once a day, for three or four days, it would be perfect. Great snack. Craving satisfied. But using the whole bowl in that period of time and at that pace would require a few other people in the house to be digging in as well. And right now, with just two of us, I hate wasting any of it.

There, in that homemade salsa, you find the foundations for one of my unique and slightly tilted views on the problems of cooking at home.

My wife is a very good cook. Delicious food, and she prepares it with love. I know that sounds corny on the surface, but thereís depth in that statement. A lot of people believe a meal is a way to convey togetherness and affection, and I value such thoughts. The dinner becomes the legendary community sharing of a table and breaking bread. The preparation of the meal is an investment of time built upon caring about the people it will nourish. Terry cooks from the heart.

She also cooks to please, and that means good food and a lot of it. Often, her meals for our family of four would end up with plenty of leftovers. When the boys were around, that was fantastic. Our kids were famous for coming directly home from a Japanese steakhouse with leftovers, and then eating those leftovers immediately upon entering the house. Yup, leftovers never made it to the fridge.

These days, those kids are a few hours away by car. Thereís little need to cook a meal to comfortably serve eight. That was a learning process for Terry. An adjustment. And there are times when sheís still struggling with it.

Iíve often said that in general, there is little to fear when it comes to cooking. If you can make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, or a grilled cheese that youíll eat, then you can cook.

Pouring milk over cereal for someone else can generate more complaints than youíd ever believe. Do it successfully, you deserve a place in the kitchen.

But there are plenty of reasons why some people are hesitant to step into a kitchen that donít involve the actual ability to cook. The work involved, from preparation all the way to cleaning up is one. And I would argue that getting your largest Tupperware container out to store your salsa has merit as another.

Today, Iím planning on making some cookies soon and dinner later. Got a new recipe for chocolate chip, and hoping for good things. Also going to play with some chicken, assorted vegetables and noodles with a balsamic glaze.

Wish me luck. (And feel free to call if youíd like to stop in. Thereís going to be plenty, and we could use a bottle of wine.)


If you have any comments or questions, please e-mail me at Bob@inmybackpack.com