If I was stranded on a desert island, and I could wish for only one tv channel, my first choice would be a movie network of some sort. (I know desert island…why wouldn’t I ask for a boat? Just play along.) But, if there were no movie channels available, my second choice would be the Food Network. I could watch all the day long while I’m building my raft. Oh, but not that stupid Rachael Ray show. Unless it was a show called Silent Cooking or something then maybe. Can you believe they actually gave her a talk show? Oy vey! Anyway, the Food Network it would be.
Because I’m a foodie, or so I like to think. Which also means I’m a natural-born cook. I’ve never been told otherwise, so I can only assume that I’m Wolfgang Puck reincarnated. (If he were in fact dead.) It may not be something I do often, but I love to cook. The issue I have with cooking is the grocery shopping. Like the anti-Nike motto – I just don’t do it. And there’s nothing worse than starting to cook, realizing in the thick of things that you’re missing a key ingredient, and trying to recreate milk or sugar using various methods you once tried out in a failed science project. If I had a personal grocery shopper, I’d be cooking up a storm. But, since I’m left to fend for myself, I tend to shop piecemeal, so the fridge isn’t exactly what you would call stocked. My son would call it empty, but he’s a pessimist.
The good news is, my parent’s fridge is quite the opposite. (If you ask me it’s a direct result of having lived through rationing during the war. Food psychology 101.) And as I find myself there on a regular basis, there is often the opportunity to break out my culinary skills.
Such was the case just this past week. Having asked my Dad what he would like for dinner and receiving the requisite “Chicken” in response, I unfurled my apron and got to work. The good news was that I’d left a recipe book with my Mum the previous week, and in it was a yummy fried chicken recipe that I knew would be a success. Then lo and behold, a new Mac and Cheese recipe right on the next page. A perfect accompaniment. And no, we’re not from the South.
So I’m running through the list of ingredients, just to make sure. Pasta – check. Milk – check. Gruyère and cheddar – Cheddar and mozzarella will have to do – check. Breadcrumbs – “Mum, do you have breadcrumbs?” – will have to make some – check. Which leaves me looking around the kitchen for the blender with which to make my breadcrumbs. This is a step-up from making breadcrumbs in my own house with my Magic Bullet. (Do not try this at home, unless a ball of bread is the desired outcome.) And there, sitting on the shelf beside the blender, the food processor. Cue spotlight. Aaaaaaaaaaa (Heavenly voices singing)
I grab all of the components and accessories and thingamajiggys, I’m pretty sure there was a missile launcher attachment as well, and suction it to the counter. I figure out which one is the correct breadcrumb-making tool and slide it down the shaft. (Get your mind out of the gutter, that’s what it’s called.) Add the bread. And…umm…
Kudos go out to all of you who , on your first try, could correctly place and twist the bowl onto the base and then attach the lid and also twist it on correctly so that the stars align and the damn thing will turn on. I couldn’t. And I got the impression that my Mum couldn’t either due to the piece of plastic missing that’s broken off the lid. People, this is engineering genius at it’s best. Of course it’s all to prevent one from slicing off ones fingers and then dicing them into little tiny bits, but Ptolemy himself couldn’t map out the directions. Still, I prevailed. I managed to click everything into place and pulse those slices of bread into oblivion, fingers still intact.
Five or six pulses and I had a dusting of perfectly formed breadcrumbs. And then, an epiphany. The cheese! I can shred the cheese with this miraculous device and not get carpal tunnel syndrome in the process. Affix grater at the bottom of the bowl, realize that I need a longer shaft, (don’t we all), remove grater attachment, insert longer shaft, (this is quickly spiralling out of control), reattach grater. And pulse. In a matter of seconds I had of mountain of perfect little cheese pieces.
And after that I was hooked. I wanted to put everything in the food processor. Carrots. Onions. The cat. Anything. Care for a vinaigrette? I could whip one up in a jiffy. Unfortunately the recipe didn’t requite any more chopping or slicing so I was left wanting. Wanting, and wondering why the hell no one had ever told me about the best small appliance ever invented. In hindsight, I realize that the microwave and coffee maker are actually better appliances, but I’m trying to convey my fascination here. How could this be such a well-kept secret? The minute I started to tell my story though, it all came pouring out. “Oh sure, I love mine. I use it all the time.” Yeah, thanks for sharing.
So never let it be said that you kept in the dark about the marvel that is the food processor. You heard it here first.
My Magic Bullet has now been relegated to Margarita duty. I don’t yet have a processor though. I was sorely tempted, but I figured I’d better fill the fridge first. The cat looked kinda worried.