Sunday, May 20, 2012


  Some guys enjoy cooking.  To my horror, I've met quite a few that have no idea how to go at it.  I think a good portion is laziness on their part, or lack of left-brain activity, I'm not sure.  I know one guy who makes cookout burgers by using frozen pucks thrown on a grill with NO seasonings.  He must hate his family.  Strangely, his name is not Chevy Chase (in any Vacation film).  I can't get over how few Americans actually cook these days.  Most just run to a fast-food joint for "convenience" but then again, it speaks volumes of American society today who adore iPods (or any Apple product or "smart" phone which still deliver low- quality convenience shoveled into the mouths of the unintelligent).  On a side-note, I do appreciate that if someone gets their feet wet in a hobby by way of a smart-phone or iPad or something and then becomes a hobbyist on that subject and getting the proper gear required for that hobby, like aquariums or astronomy, so that's pretty cool, because some people don't want to bevy-up $1000 into a hobby they might not like otherwise.

  Personally, I find cooking sort of an "instant reward" kinda thing on two levels:  it satisfies my tongue-to-belly happiness ratio, and also my need to be creative by way of alchemy.  I cook all sorts of things for sheer pleasure.  I'm working on some chili right now.  The basic concept of cooking is ingredients + time = yum.  Adding proper portions of ingredients at proper times and at proper heat levels is a neet skill.  It's much harder when you're cooking for several people like at a restaurant, and hats-off to 'em.  I've done it, and I find quality suffers a bit.  Only ACE chefs can manage it well, and they're underpaid everywhere.
  My chili never comes out the same.  I fudge the ingredients (no pun intended).  Sometimes I add a bit extra chili powder or paprika.  Sometimes I add ground sirloin instead of ground chuck, or put a half onion instead of 2 onions.  Just depends on my mood, but then again, it's sort of like music or painting or any other art, and a good outlet.
  I find cooking therapeutic.  Even though I'm not always successful, it's still fun.  Experience can add to different spices.  I find spices are vital to a concoction.  Adding a bit of vanilla extract to a cake's mix can enhance it, as can booze to chili.  This time I added Old Grandad 114 and also a bottle of Dos Equis Amber.  Should be interesting.
  Some folks find cooking too much effort, but like all things in life, time put in is 10-time-fold time returned.  Relationships are like that (usually, if not unrequited).  This also applies to vehicle maintenance and a whole myriad of other things.  Now, I don't always cook.  Sometimes the BK Lounge is calling and I got a hankerin' for a Whopper with bacon instead of my cooking one up on a grill for no good reason.  Whimsical at best, cooking is fun but thankfully to society, not mandatory.

  If you are afraid of cooking, give it a try one Sunday early morning for kicks.  It's better than banging away at Angry Birds in Space or Skyrim, and you can usually do it while watching TV as there's almost invariably time to cook where there's nothing going on but waiting (be sure to set your timer alarm!)  I recommend, devil's food chocolate cake with cream-cheese frosting. 

  Wanna go on the level 1 side?  Buy the Duncan Heins mix and matching frosting.  You'll need 3 eggs, some vegetable oil and a cake pan or two (these are re-usable).  Pretty easy and tastes awesome.  Always add an extra egg to the mix for altitude, and if you're above 5000 feet, add 2 tablespoons of flour and you'll be good. 


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