Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Adventures in (mis)reading

I don't like cooking. Most people who know me are aware of that fact. However, because of some silly New Years resolution I made about losing weight, I'm faced with the fact that I will need to cook. Home made dinners are better for you than the premade TV dinner type stuff. For the last 6 months, I've tried finding loopholes around the home made dinner fact and I'm giving up. What really broke the last straw was the book In Defense of Food by Michael Pollan. Foods prepared without all the added vitamins and minerals are really better for you. There's nothing wrong with plain, wholesome vegetables.

I let my dirty secret out at work (that I hate cooking and don't really cook all that much) and there are at least 2 of my coworkers who have been peering over my shoulder on occasion on my progress of cooking, or lack thereof. (You know who you are and I know you're reading this. *Grins*)

I don't enjoy cooking because the directions usually intimidate me. I have ADD and sometimes reading directions is challenging for me. If directions are written simply and each step has a separate line, that is great. I'm a happy girl. (The 4-Ingredient Cookbook is AWESOME in that regard. That's my favorite cookbook) However, most cook books write their directions in paragraph form and that's where I run into trouble. I lose focus after the second line of the paragraph and I more-or-less need to read the same paragraph several times before it sinks in. That makes me feel stupid and I hate I avoid cooking.

But I need to get over that. For my health, I need to work past my little idiosyncracy. So...I cooked today. And as with most of my experiences with cooking, I adventure.
I made Chicken Enchiladas. The recipe called for chicken, sour cream, chopped chilies, cheese, chopped onion...all of the usual ingriedents for enchiladas. I read the directions several times before assembling the ingriendents and needed utensils.

Step one, saute onions in skillet. Check. Step two, add chicken and chilies. Hmmm, the chicken is still raw, but ok. I paused to reread the directions. It did not mention stirring this concoction under heat. How long was this going to be in the oven? Is that what cooks the chicken? I scanned down to the end of the directions. The directions read to cook for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. Is that going to long enough to cook the chicken? It IS cubed, but still...

So I continue mixing the second half of the ingriedents (mostly sour cream and cream of chicken soup) and pour it over the chicken and chilies. I glob a spoonful of the mixture on to a tortilla before I stop again. Really? Raw chicken? What am I missing? Maybe I should COMPLETELY read the directions again. So I begin to read the recipe again from the beginning and I see this in the ingriedent list: 2 cups of cubed COOKED chicken. Geezus.

I drop the glob back in the skillet and proceed to pick each and every piece of chicken out of the mixture. I shook off as much of the sour cream concotion as I could before dropping the chicken into a new skillet to COOK.

Once the chicken was cooked I reassembled and placed the enchiladas in the oven. I just finished eating one and it wasn't too bad. A little on the bland side, but considering the fact that I can't cook something right the first time, it was pretty good.

I won't allow the mistake to stop me. It's not the first time I've goofed something up in a recipe. If anything, my adventures in cooking will be blog fodder.

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