Look Who’s Cooking

Posted: October 3, 2010 in The Roper Files

 

My kitchen for years has been more of a combination office/coffee bar/den for years but a new milestone has been reached. Just recently purchased a 7-quart crock-pot so now it’s safe to say a new era has begun in my house; I’m actually cooking real food in my kitchen with NO small amount of help from “K” who does a pretty good job of instructing me long-distance.

For years I have lived on a pretty typical diet of a bachelor: either frozen dinners or take-out food. When I was about thirty I realized a diet of fast food was slowly killing me. I felt terrible all the time and a real turning point in my life was a combination of quitting drinking and at the same time eating something, anything besides a non-stop diet of McDonald’s, Taco Bell and Sonic Drive-in fare. Getting away from the chain fast food places was a step up; even the take-out dinners from most Asian places are more nutritious than what you can get from McDonald’s. At least with that you get rice and a smattering of vegetables.

 Ah yes…vegetables. Those things that grow in the ground; I’ve heard people speak of these. Wasn’t aware of it until recently but they even have their own section in most grocery stores. You mean you can actually cook these? Okay I’m just kidding; I’m not a total stranger to vegetables. In fact I do occasionally enjoy a good dinner salad especially during the summer when it’s hot. But I hardly even know how to shop for them much less cook them. Detecting a new learning experience in the making here…but we’ll get back to that later…

 “K” has been suggesting to me for awhile that I purchase a crock-pot so when Aldi had them on sale recently I figured I was out of excuses and went and got one. I had been wanting a good reason to go check out the recently-opened Aldi near my house and I’m glad I did.

Dollar gallons of milk? Four dollar bags of Costa Rican coffee beans? Quarts of half and half for two dollars? Think I just found a new place to shop from now on.

 When I stayed with “K” in August, she made a pot of pulled pork which made a lot of delicious sandwiches and when we tired of those she topped a pizza with the remaining pork.

 Since I was with her when she bought the ingredients and watched her make it she suggested I try that. She gave me a list of things to go buy and later walked me through the preparation over the phone. Took about seven hours to properly cook the tenderloin I purchased but I ate pulled pork sandwiches that weekend until I squealed like a pig myself and also took my parents a container of it. That turned out really well for a first try, but I knew what I wanted to do next.

 The next thing I wanted to attempt was roast beef and vegetables. Bought a slab of roast beef, a bag of baby carrots and a bag of midget potatoes and let that stew all day Sunday after following “K’s” instructions over the phone on how to make the gravy mix of onion and mushroom soup. Was really proud of myself as I sat down to a plate-full of home-cooked food last week and I still have two containers full ready for my enjoyment in the freezer.

So what’s next? Fall is sneaking up on me; as the temperatures drop perhaps some chili is in the works.

All in all the crock-pot was twenty dollars well spent; now if I can just figure out how to make my own steak-burgers and curly fries in it, I’ll never have to eat out again…

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