Friday, January 2, 2015

The Offical Pinterest Food-Vomit Recovery Program

I spent my last post openly mocking various forms of hideous vomit meals that make me gag as I peruse Pinterest. I realize that I did so without giving you any alternative cooking tactics, and this is wrong of me. So I have created part two, a sequel, a continuation in which I try to help those who have been caught up in the can-cooking nightmare of modern life.

No one needs to be Martha Stewart. Heck, no one needs to be Gwenyth Paltrow. I am pretty sure both those women are secretly practicing witchcraft in their outdoor "bread ovens," conjuring demonic influences who iron their curtains, grow all their food in the backyard, raise their chickens for organic eggs, and switch out the normal sheets for flannel ones on a specific date each year.*

Here are some revelations I would like to share with the world of Pinterest, food blogs, and home cooks who take pictures of food to share it with the internet:
  1. No one is going to look at a pin of raw chicken suspended in a globular sauce with nondescript vegetables and say, "Gee, I'll make that for my dinner tonight!" 
  2. Tinned food, as a rule, doesn't look appealing until it is removed from a tin, heated, and placed on a plate. It never really tastes appealing (and we won't get into the lack of nutritional value), and really, vegetables shouldn't ever be gray-green. They should be green. Or orange. Or yellow, or purple. Or red. Not grey-red. Red. **
  3. Seasoning packets are, on the whole, mostly salt, preservatives, and a thickening agent, and you can achieve a much tastier (and cost-effective) result by spending five minutes dumping a few different spices into a mason jar, shaking it up, and using a spoon to sprinkle it over foods. 
  4. Tinned soups are...wait for it...mostly salt. You can achieve a better result using boxed stock*** and a roux. Or a roux and milk. Making a roux is super-easy and everyone should learn it right now. If you can make a pan sauce, you have made it. Not only that, you're actually cooking.****
If you follow tips three and four...you'll be healthier. Seriously. If you switch out the tins for frozen veggies...you'll be healthier.

If you stop taking pictures of raw meat, I'll be happier.

"But Laura," you say, "I don't have time to really cook! I can't make cheese at home! I need to use cans because they are fast! And I love my slow-cooker, and the book I have says to use cans to make--"

Only witches like Martha Stewart and foodies who Instagram all their meals make cheese at home. Buy that @#$& for crying out loud. No one is suggesting at-home cheese-making. Who even knows where to buy rennet? Plus rennet is gross. You don't want that in your fridge. I will let you Google it. I am not risking the internet putting pictures in my search results. It would be the same as that gunk that came out of Bode Miller's spine. No one wants to see it and once seen, it cannot be unseen.

No one should ever try to be Martha Stewart.

For the love of all good things in the universe. Via Pleated Jeans

If the book says to use canned soup for something other than throwing at zombies after the apocalypse, throw the book away. If you rearrange the letters in the author's name, it probably spells Satan, Spawn of the Pit or some variation. Throw it out. Do it now. Buy this one instead. Or this one. Or this one. Or this one. *****

Don't want to mess with slow cookers at all? There are tons of books designed to help you spend an afternoon mixing stuff up, shoving it in the freezer, and having meals to last you weeks/months. My aunt wrote all these books that tell you how. There are others out there, but I haven't tried them because my aunt wrote these and gave them to me. If you've used a few and like them, let me know and I'll add them to my freezer-meal arsenal.

Give up the horrifying nightmares of Pinterest Vomit Food. Come into the light, and eat food that no one has digested for you!

* Who the frack does this? Before this year, I didn't even know people BOUGHT flannel sheets in real life, I thought it was something that Martha dreamed up to make us feel inferior. But seriously, marking the calendar and changing them because it's the official day to do so? No way Martha Stewart isn't a witch. Normal people, do what I do with my electric blanket, they pull their flannel sheets out when they get cold. That's how you change from normal to flannel sheets. Wait for it to be COLD.

**  One exception to the rule? Tomatoes. Try getting decent tomatoes out of season and you'll find that it's impossible. Use the canned ones if you need tomato for a recipe. They aren't absolutely hideous.

*** Yes, boxed stock low-sodium stock is good. Shockingly, the best is actually the low-sodium instead of the regular, because they replace all the salt with herbs and veggies, making it beyond amazing. The regular stock they just dump tons of salt in with the chicken/beef, without any other seasonings. Go for the Swanson Organics low-sodium, because it is amazing. Way better than my miserable stock-making attempts at home, and it doesn't take hours to make it. 

**** If you're opening soup jars and cans, you're mixing food someone else made. These are wildly different things.

***** No, America's Test Kitchen is not paying me to recommend any book they publish or show they make, but I am totally cool with that if they want to in the future. I would also be happy to be an official food taster, or I would be happy to sit backstage and clean the kitchen or wash dishes. Also I would be okay with having this book's baby, if that were possible. Instead I just use it and no other cookbooks because having other cookbooks would be a waste of shelf space when all I need is this one.

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