Thursday, January 2, 2014

concoction

Last night I cooked supper for Steve.  I had been trying a recipe I didn't have time for during the holidays, so I decided since I had dessert, I would really shock the s**t out of him and cook a main course.  I am a simple person when it comes to cooking.  I believe in using the fewest pots possible to make a meal.  I measure my success in cooking in the amount of dishes I DON'T dirty...weird I know but since I have never had a dishwasher, there is a method to my madness.

I looked in the fridge and saw some leftover cheese dip I had made.  Aha! I thought to myself, I'll make a concoction and save pots and be thrifty at the same time (i.e., using leftovers and not throwing them away), in effect killing two birds with one stone.

con·coc·tion
kənˈkäkSHən/
noun
  1. 1.
    a mixture of various ingredients or elements.
    "a concoction of gables, shingles, stained glass, and towers inspired by English medieval houses"
    synonyms:mixturebrewpreparationpotion
    "a concoction containing gin and vodka"
    "a strange concoction of folk pop and Gregorian chant"


So I took the cheese dip out (it had ground beef in it, always a starting point for any concoction), boiled some noodles (it was either noodles or spaghetti pasta, and I felt egg noodles would be more aesthetically pleasing).  Then I tossed them all together in the same pot I had boiled the noodles in (after draining off the noodle water of course).  Voila, dinner and dessert and I didn't even break a sweat.

As I made the concoction, I thought about how the word came into being in our family.  It is a word my sisters will understand the moment they see this post.  What does this word mean to me?

It is how I learned to cook.  When I was about 13 or 14, my mother was on a journey of self discovery.  She was a good cook, but never wanted anyone helping her in the kitchen, and so I knew nothing about cooking.  Somehow, when mom and dad divorced and mother went to work, I chose the task of cooking for my sisters and I.  Don't ask me why, because it was long before I knew about Julia Child.  In fact, I didn't even know how to boil water.  That was the first thing I learned to do, and it was about that time I started drinking tea.  I had tried coffee with milk and sugar but mom had told me that if I was going to drink coffee, I had to drink it black.  So that stopped my coffee drinking cold, and I fell in love with tea.  Milk and sugar of course, which for some reason didn't offend mom's sensibilities.  It's a habit I still have.  

After I learned to boil water, I began to think of ways to cook something we could actually eat.  I decided to started with ground beef.  That was almost always the base for my concoctions.  After that I tossed in whatever we had in the pantry.  But the magic began the first time I spotted the spice rack and decided to "spice" it up.  I knew spaghetti had spices, and so did a lot of other recipes.  I wasn't working with a recipe, so I decided to just let my imagination guide me.

My sisters will say straight up that my imagination caused epic failures much of the time. There were times what I cooked was delicious, or at least palatable.  Then there were the times the girls thought I was trying to poison them. 

I can hear them laughing as they read this.  What started out as an experiment in learning for me, brought us all closer.  Along the way, we learned to rely on ourselves, and that we could do anything we set our minds to.  An attitude that persists to this day in all three of us.

What a memory.  What marvelous times we had, and we didn't even realize it at the time.

See you soon Vix and Dooj...and I'll make you a concoction while I am there.  I've improved just a bit over the years. xo  

...life is so very good. ~cath 
find me @jonesbabie on Twitter

4 comments:

  1. I can't wait to try one of your concoctions! I believe you were taking home ec and somehow you felt this put you in charge of our poor stomachs ;-). Love you see you soon!

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    1. Brace yourself sister, my cooking has improved after 45 years of testing. :)

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  2. Tasting. That's the secret of all successful concoctions. It is a great word, isn't it! :)

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    1. Yes it is a great word Jenny, and one my sisters readily recognize and still laugh at. And tasting is the secret, and something it took me a while to figure out. :) Thanks for your comment!

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