This was going to be just one post, but I got bogged down with trying to tell everything all on one page, so I am going to make several posts out of my cooking stories. Here is the beginning:
When you are 36 and have been a never-married bachelorette for so long, you don’t really prepare the meals, they just kind of happen; soups, sandwiches, fruit, cereal and milk…etc. I rarely ever ate out, but at the same time I didn’t ever see the point of preparing full meals for myself either. Sometimes I would fix a casserole and freeze most of it to be taken for lunches at work, but for the most part I didn’t bother much in the cooking department. Also, for much of the 12 years I was in Portland, OR I didn’t live where I had access to my own kitchen, I either had to share with a bunch of others, or I only had a microwave and a stove top burner.
So when I got married back in the fall of ’04 I was pretty green in cooking to please myself, let alone someone else. I had visited my future in-laws and had been alarmed at the fancy things my future mother-in-law prepared; Cole slaw, deviled eggs, potato salad and Jell-O gelatin…Ha. When I found out I really was going to join the family I panicked and went frantically looking for recipes for such like as above. (Be advised; if you go on a panicked search of the web for recipes you will only find the weird stuff; deviled eggs with peanut butter, Cole slaw with pineapple…no plain simple everyday food.) Now my mom had fixed ‘tater salad quite often, but when I was a kid I never paid much attention to it. Living on my own I never bothered with it. As for Cole slaw and deviled eggs, my mom never bothered to fix them because we didn’t like them much and would never eat them. So. I did have a friend give me a recipe for the tater salad and deviled eggs, however the Cole slaw I had to figure out on my own. I also absolutely hated (still do) gelatin of any sort, but this is one of my husband’s favorite desserts; strawberry gelatin with bananas.
Not long after we were married I got the notion to fix him some of this concoction, but to make it fancy in a gelatin mold. So I got out the box of gelatin and gave the instructions the once over. Comfortably sure this was going to be a piece of cake, as it were, I boiled ¾ cup of water, mixed the powder gunk in and poured it into the mold. It didn’t look like it was going to make that much so I made another box of it and poured that into the mold as well. Hmmm… Even THAT didn’t look sufficient, but oh well, I just chucked it into the fridge to set anyway. I didn’t have any bananas at the time; I guess I thought he ought to be happy to be getting any of this nasty stuff from me at all. Well, after a reasonable amount of time I checked the progress of my goop in the fridge. Hmmm, it had a really rubbery consistency-like, close to like one of those clear rubber bouncy balls you find in a toy store. The box said to dip in warm water to loosen from the mold. Dutifully I dipped, but one dip didn’t seem to help this Rubbermaid look-alike loosen up. So I just left it for a moment and went and re-read the box. OHHHHHH!!! HA! HA! It helps to fully read the complete instructions! I needed lots more water. Oh, well. I turn back to my gelatin in the warm water….it isn’t gelled any more, it’s melted and watery with just a little island floating in the liquid! Double ha ha! So I just poured more water in it and stuck it back in the fridge. In the end, since I couldn’t get as much water as was needed for 2 boxes of the stuff in the mold, but after so much bother I went ahead and put it back in the fridge to set up again. It turned out really rubbery still, but edible. And my husband, being the good guy that he is, ate it anyway.