Tuesday, December 7, 2010

If in doubt, season the shit out of it

Last night my culinary standards sank below the standards of drunk frat boys. A proud moment in my grad student career.

Upon getting home last night I realized I had nothing to make for dinner. I have no excuse for this other than pure laziness, seeing that it's the beginning of the month so I recently got paid. I clearly can't blame this on End-Of-The-Month syndrome where I'm down to pennies in my bank account and I'm saving the last few dollars available on my credit card for something important. Like beer. But then I've never claimed to not be the laziest person I know. By the time I got home I had already had to fight the urge to slaughter a pedestrian and eat him, so I was ready to get dinner started. I commenced rummaging through my fridge and pantry. Here's what I found:

- Frozen ground turkey
- Carrots
- Pearl onions
- Garlic
- A can a of peas
- Baby spinach
- Tomato sauce
- Leftover "Garden Vegetable" pasta sauce
- Penne pasta

It seemed like I could make something out of that. I was really hoping I still had a can of cream of mushroom soup (in my head this would have TOTALLY saved the day - cream of mushroom (or chicken) soup makes any dish magical), but, alas, I only found Bean with Bacon soup, and that didn't sound like it would work out very well (which seems ironic now that I could have just had soup and forgone this exercise in creating vomitous masses). So I went with what I had and started getting creative.

Let me first of all say that I consider myself a pretty good cook, but there's a reason I've never gotten into creative writing or pretty much any form of art. Arm-waving? Sure I can handle that sort of invention, but creating something out of nothing isn't really my thing. But I was hungry, so I gave it a shot.

Firstly, I have no clue where the turkey came from. It apparently isn't my roommate's and I've never bought ground turkey in my life. It had a May expiration date (it was frozen, it keeps, right?), so I guess it couldn't have been her's since she moved in in September. Come to think of it, I never checked the May of which year it expired... Regardless, if it was left in the freezer, it's fair game. So the turkey was thawed and then browned in a pan. I wanted to soften the carrots, so I put them in the pan early with with turkey. It was only then that I realized the carrots needed to be high-graded seeing as some of the specimens were a color that could no longer be described as orange. So I took the carrots that still looked edible on the outside and stood behind my theory that "It'll cook out" and threw them into the pan. [Note: I deliberately use the word "theory" as I feel like I've tested this hypothesis enough times without suffering death that it now moves on to theory.] Don't worry, the rest of the carrots got tossed out, as well as the oozing tomatoes I found in the produce drawer of my fridge.

I'm proud to say that the onions and garlic were in no way questionable. Not a single sprout. So those got chopped up and thrown in the pan.

While rummaging around looking for the can of Cream of Mushroom soup I was convinced I had beneath my 8 bags of powdered sugar, rice (yet another possible, if boring, option I could have gone with after all), and coconut, I had found a can of peas. The first thing I noticed about these peas were that they were in an Albertsons can. That's all well and good, except for the fact that I haven't seen an Albertsons since I moved from Montana. 4.5 years ago. So I can only guess how old the peas are... Well, despite the dubious age of the peas (see a theme here?), they smelled fine. They're in a can after all! So I added some to the pan once again figuring anything bad will just cook out. Of course it wasn't until later that I realized I had a >4.5 year old can of peas because I really just don't like peas. Alas, if only that were the greatest of my problems...

What should have come next was the question: What was I actually making? Ok, maybe it should have come first. But it DEFINITELY should have come before I committed to a liquid substance. In retrospect, I should have gone with a stir-fry theme. In fact, while writing this, it sounds like I'm making a stir-fry. But no, I had to be all rash and shit and open the can of tomato sauce rather than just pouring in some soy sauce. Damnit. So tomato sauce goes in. Unfortunately I don't feel like this adds enough liquidy substance to the pan, so I add what was in the bottom of the pasta sauce jar. And have no fear, I did check for fuzz in the jar before adding it. And the chucks were supposed to be there. C'mon, do I seem that stupid? Actually, don't answer that.

Lastly I added some salt, pepper, rosemary, and savory. Because if in doubt, season the shit out of it.

I then put it over some pasta and attempted to consume it. Yes, it looks pretty identical to dog vomit (see picture), but it did taste better than I imagine dog vomit tasting like. Actually it didn't taste half bad (my roommate was bold enough to try it and confirms my assessment), but just looking at it turned my stomach. I guess the important thing is that I'm still alive. And I brought leftovers for lunch!

Perhaps this should be my new diet scheme, because just thinking about having to eat it makes me lose my apatite. And I also have a new understanding why undergrads always seem to keep Ramen in their cupboards...


Mel said...

Well, it was probably as cheap as ramen... Free ground turkey (usually $5/lb) and free peas (60 cents) are quite a savings. So, few cents for pasta, ~50 cents for portion of tomato sauce, and ~50 cents for carrots. Not a bad price for edible.
Hunger was also likely a factor in poor cooking decisions...

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

lol - apatite...lol

Laura said...

@ReBecca, I'm just going to pretend like that was intentional...

ReBecca Hunt-Foster said...

lol I do it all the time. Sign of a good geologist ;)