We're the ones your mother warned your about...No, seriously. We are.

Damn you, Francesco Rinaldi. Damn you to hell.

Here's the thing - I never really learned how to cook. I mean, I've got the basics down - salads, sandwiches, and a mean chicken breast & rice. But when it comes to really cooking - you know, casseroles, and recipes that require actual measuring of things - well, no. That's where I get lost. And really, I'd accepted that for the time being. In truth, there was a little part of my brain that had decided either I had to learn to cook, or just find a guy that knows how to cook for the both of us, and reward him for his skills with sexual favors.

But in the course of the last two weeks, it has come up in conversation with several people, all of whom had no idea that anyone else had said anything, that perchance I should endeavor to learn to prepare food beyond, say, taco salad. Little Sister offered to start sending me recipes, since we never did get around to teaching me how to cook before I left the East Coast, and I've made Anya promise to show me how to make her stuffed potatoes when she comes to L.A. in October. So, really, I was making inroads.

Then last Wednesday, I was making out my grocery list (Wednesday is the day the flyers come in the mail), and I noticed that Italian sausage was on sale. On AIM with KitCat at the time, I ventured that maybe I should get the sausage, and go so far as to attempt to make a pasta dish for myself to bring to work for lunches that week. Except I didn't really know how to make sausages. (That last sentence just made my entire German/Austrian/Hungarian ancestry turn in their graves.) Therefore, I appealed to my friends in LiveJournal, asking for the best way to go about this new adventure.

Several techniques were sent over to me, and I went about my way. Then Sunday night came, and I set to cooking. I had pasta, I had sauce, I had sausage. I had KitCat on AIM in case I needed an alibi for any possible depositions due to unforseen consequences. I was good. To. Go.

Got out my big ass pot. In went the water.....start to boil...yes, that seems about right according to the directions. Okay then. Time for the meat. Get out the sausages, and my frying pan with the cool ridges to drain away the grease...okey dokey....

I have no olive oil. fuck. I forgot to get it when I went shopping. Urg. Oh god. It's 8:15 on a Sunday night. I'm done with my weekend. My dog is walked & sacked out on the couch, my laundry is done....I don't wanna go out. I mean, it's L.A., so I know that there's somewhere open to get olive oil, but I don't really feel like getting in my car and making that kind of effort. I just want to do this, set up my nice little individual servings, and then veg out on the couch to watch an Alias repeat at 9 so that I can wonder how the hell J.J. is pulling off the "gone for two years" cliffhanger and tell Zoey that Gardner & Vartan are so doing each other, no matter what they're telling the press.

I can do this. I just, I need to think. Think. Thinkthinkthinkthinkthink. Where is Pooh Bear's log to sit on when I need it? Okay. Now, back when I lived in NH, Pat once had a rather strong reaction to watching me cook the ground meat for my taco salad, and showed me that I could use water in the pan and it would actually be a lot healthier for me. Therefore, since a sausage is basically ground meat that's just....bundled, for lack of a better word, can't I just use water again? Besides, if it sucks, I'm the only one eating it, and I'll have a week's worth of lesson learned for the next time around, right? Right. Totally.

After psyching myself up, I put a small amount of water in the pan, and then added my sausages. The pasta water was boiling, so in went the noodles. Woo. Okay. I just need to let that re-boil, then let it cook for 11-13 minutes, according to the directions. Note the time...okay. Pasta is good. Back to the sausages. Cooking well, haven't blown up, and I don't have Wolfgang Puck storming into my apartment to tell me I've violated some odd commandment of culinary art. *checks the front window just in case* Nope, no irate chefs. Okay!

Now is the part where you wait.

I suck at this part.

I opened my cabinets to pull out the five bowls to use to divide up the lunches. Shit. I need more Gladware, it would seem. Bugger. I set out four bowls, and one of the square sandwich containers. Hrm. Going to have to work on that container issue should I continue on my quest to cook in the future.

Oooh! Pasta's done. Turn of the stove, consult directions - Let cool, then drain out water. All righty. I take the top off, then go to get my strainer.

Except I don't have a strainer. oops.

Luckily, I'm a strong, strapping kinda gal, and I can tip the pot over the edge of the sink with one hand while using the other to hold the pot top as a strainer and drain the water that way. Note to self : When buying more Gladware, must also get strainer.

While that's cooling, let's go back to the sausages. Neat. They're cooking, so on the recommendations of... someone, I don't remember who anymore, I took them out & one by one sliced 'em in half to ensure that they'd get cooked all way through, then put them back on. Once again, managing to not do anything that involved fire, giant explosions, or litigation. Woo hoo!

Pasta in five containers. Check.

Sausage in five containers. Check.

Time for the sauce. We're almost done. This cooking stuff ain't half-bad.

Pull out the jar of sauce....I can't get it open. No, for real. I can't get the damned thing open! Freakin' air lock seals. Freakin' freshness guarantees - frickin', frickin'....erg. Still. Won't. Open...

Damn you, Francesco Rinaldi. Damn you to hell!


Open! Open or I'm never using any of your stupid sauce again! Oooooooppeeeeeen!


Oh. There we go. Alrighty then. *cough* Better now.

Read directions - pour into pot & heat, then put over pasta & serve. I can do that!

Tra la la....sauce in pot....everything else is done....I'm even cleaning up, Pat would be proud....

Hey. Hold on.

If the sauce is already done, and I'm just going to be nuking this during the week for lunch anyway, why am I heating it up now? Couldn't I just pour it on the pasta, & then let it heat when I put it in the microwave?

*looks at pot on stove*

Oh, bugger.

*takes pot off stove, then puts sauce on pasta*

Woo. I have made pasta, sauce, and meat and not had a catastrophe. There only thing left is the mozzarella cheese, so out comes the pre-shredded bag, because while in the grocery store, I also realized I do not own a cheese grater. One more thing to be added to the list....

Cheese in five containers. Check.

Hey look! I'm done! Hee. Go me. I have successfully cooked an actual meal, and everyone survived! (Yes, I realize that "everyone" includes pretty much me and Zoey, but for my first real try, I'd say two out of two ain't bad.) I've even got a half an hour left before Alias. I can do this. It's kinda neat. I shall have to try it again next week, since I am now accomplished and all that good stuff.

Now I just have to figure out what I'm going to have for dinner, because, well, I didn't make enough extra to take care of that problem. Hrm. Pizza, anyone?

note to self: When I visit, I'm doing the cooking.
Thank you very much.
- Anya

~ August, 2003

~ Claris' Archives