Hasta la vista, Boyardee

Let me share my dirty secret with you – I am not a good cook. I will not make a good housewife one day. I’m the twenty-something girl in a Jane Austen novel that would be declared unfit for marriage and destined to be a spinster forever because I don’t have the skills in the kitchen that are expected of all womankind. I’m proud of my ability to make pancakes and a mean grilled cheese. It ends there. THANKFULLY I already snagged myself a man despite having singlehandedly disproved the theory “The way to a man’s heart is through his stomach.” I think he sticks around because of my quick wit and sarcastic charm.

My lack of skills previously resulted in lunches catered by the world-renowned Chef Boyardee or cups of soup-to-go containing so much sodium that they might as well be called salt-lick-to-go. A good lunch day consisted of leftover spaghetti noodles swimming in canned sauce or a permafrosted Lean Cuisine. You can say it because I know you’re thinking it…pathetic.

Now that my failure in home economics is exposed, you understand why the offers from co-workers to partake in the deliciousness that is the New Asian Village lunch buffet or the one-pound burrito food babies from Burrito Libre became infinitely more appealing (we seriously weighed them once, some were almost a pound of cheesy, spicy meat with just enough lettuce, tomatoes and guacamole to tip the mental scale to “This burrito is a balanced meal all wrapped into one little bundle of joy!”). I have a spine – I could say no if I wanted to…but really, if you hold a piece of coal in one hand and a bar of gold in the other, which one’s gonna win? Taste buds say…bar of gold. Oddly enough this analogy also depicts the amount of money I was spending on eating out. Big Man Mr. Bank Account was ready to visit me in the wee hours of the night with his gangster friend Mastah-Card and break my kneecaps.

A while ago a close girlfriend of mine invited me over for dinner. She made this delicious blackened salmon smothered in curry sauce, with a side of warm and toasty naan bread, some fluffy rice and a refreshing cucumber yogurt. After I helped myself to seconds (and maybe thirds) she raved about the recipe and the book it was in. It’s called Jamie’s Food Revolution, by Jamie Oliver. I picked it up skeptically, expecting something full of fancy French names and ingredient lists as long as my arm, but was pleasantly surprised to see pages full of step by step photographs for each recipe and ingredients I could actually pronounce! I ran out and bought the book as soon as I realized that I was having a recurring dream of salmon and curry having break dancing parties in my mouth. Sometimes you just gotta read the signs.

If you are like me and the cooking gods took one look at you at birth and thunderously shouted “ I SHALL SMITE THEE” to the earth below (cue lightning bolts), then I seriously suggest checking this book out. It’s a therapist to stove-aphobes like me. It’s a little bit of wise advice for the “I just moved out of the parental unit and I’m living off Mac N’ Cheese” young adult (been there, done that!). It’s even a great companion for the mom/dad rock star chef that already knows how to cook but wants to mix things up a bit. Thanks to Jamie Oliver, I can now walk into my kitchen with my head held high, ready to conquer. I now not only have tasty dinners, but leftovers for lunch the next day! Mr. Bank Account, you can finally put your baseball bat away.

2 thoughts on “Hasta la vista, Boyardee

  • LFeehan

    I was also not blessed by the cooking gods and have a serious disability when it comes to complicated recipes… or any recipe that has more than 5 ingredients. So far the only luck I’ve had with cookbooks is “Cooking with Kids” which I borrowed from my mom (yes, I’m hanging my head in shame). This books sounds awesome and will make me feel less like a loser. Thanks Nic!

  • While I am no stranger in the kitchen, I also find Jamie Oliver’s simple recipes and philosophy on food in general fantastic. It also doesn’t hurt that his books are all beautifully designed and have fantastic photography.

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