Thursday, March 24, 2016

Mine Eyes Have See the Glory ...

What I'm about to say doesn't speak well of me.  It isn't complimentary at all.  It makes me sound like a rube, to be frank.  But ... facts are facts.

I'm an extremely lazy cook.  I can feed people ... it's not hard.  Spaghetti ... chicken ... steak ... potatoes ... pork chops ... whatever.  In the age of a multitude of boxes of flavored noodles and rice, anyone can throw together a meal that is edible ... and, to be honest, relatively tasty.

But I think a lot of us have fallen prey to the pre-seasoned, Sandra Lee-esque "semi-homemade" style of cooking.  We all have dozens of recipes at our fingertips ... and quite a few of them involve a can of cream of mushroom soup.   I season ... but I use a lot of garlic salt or a pre-mix of Italian seasoning.  That's about it.  Stoney's cabinet is full of spices and herbs.   And I use probably 1% of them.

Until last night.  So ... we saw a dish that looked simple.  Simple enough that I thought, "I could throw that together after work one night."  But once I was in the middle of it, it was a little more work than I'd anticipated.  That's what I get for skimming the recipe, huh?

It involved browning hamburger with diced onion and fresh garlic ... okay.   A little extra time needed to chop the garlic and onion but ... okay.   Drain.   Then you needed to add a can of diced tomatoes ... along with several spices including cumin, smoked paprika, Worcestershire sauce, and dry mustard.

I don't know when ... or if ... I've cooked with cumin before.  I can't lie ... there was a point when I was standing there ... lower back aching ... thinking,  "Ugh, who fucking cares about cumin!  Or Paprika!  Will anyone even notice if it's not in there?!"

But I got home early from work last night, so I took a deep breath and dove into the spice cabinet.  I measured everything out exactly as the recipe called for ... mixed everything ... arranged everything and then separately cooked up the glaze that was required ... and set the dish into the oven to bake.

I looked around the kitchen at the absolute mess that lay in front of me and thought, "Well, however it tastes, this was not worth it."   I was disgusted ... as I spent the twenty minutes of cooking time washing pans and spatulas and cutting boards, putting back spices, and wiping down the counter tops.  Seriously?  Why didn't I just make a Tombstone pizza?

Let me tell you why.  Because it was delicious.  Is this what comes from using cumin?  And paprika?  I mean nothing I used was exotic or advanced ... it was laughably simple.  But even Stoney said, "This tastes really good!"

So I've been thinking about the way I cook.   After working all day, it's really easy to throw together some hamburger meat and a packet of taco seasoning and consider a meal successful.   It was a simple recipe ... but the honest truth is that it did take some time.  So I know there will be some nights ... if not most nights, sadly ... that I'm too tired to stand there for 45 minutes to making something truly homemade.

But my eyes are opened ... spices are our friend.  It takes a little work ... but it is worth it.   The more you know ...

Colours of the world
Spice up your life
Every boy and girl
Spice up your life
Every boy and girl
Spice up your life
People of the world
Spice up your life

Spice Girls - Spice Up Your Life

PS - If anyone cares (and since I think I'm down to about two readers, I don't think anyone will) ... here is the recipe I made last night.  They're called Diamond Burgers a/k/a/ Cheesy Burger Sliders ... but be warned.  When you're scrolling through the main picture directions, they skim over the cumin, mustard powder, etc. ... you don't really see the spices until you read the ingredient list and steps at the bottom.  

For what it's worth, I used King's Hawaiian Rolls ... which are naturally sweet.  Perhaps not the perfect choice since the glaze you're going to put on top has brown sugar in it ... so mine tasted sweeter than intended, I think.  Plus I used smoked provolone as the cheese ... because I thought that sounded good?  Anyhow ... give them a try.  They were really tasty!

1 comment:

  1. Stephalopolis7:28 PM

    I LOVE Cumin!! I just discovered it earlier this year and realized that was the "Mexicany" taste I was missing in my lazy cooking. And this post perfectly describes my kitchen right now. We decided to try and eat healthier and less processed foods. I've cooked something homemade every day this week and the kitchen is an absolute nightmare/disaster. Luckily we live far away so no one comes to visit cuz cleaning the kitchen is a losing battle right now...