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Monday, October 19, 2009

Screwdriver Chicken

I hate cooking. I really really hate it. I'm not good at it, I hate the mess it makes, I hate cleaning up after. I was never taught how to cook by my mom as most daughters are. My mom didn't know how to cook either and our meals growing up consisted mainly of either McDonalds Drive thru, way overcooked steak that could break your teeth, and once in awhile a decent meatloaf. About the only thing I can make is an amazing turkey. I don't know why but no matter how I cook it, my turkeys always come out perfect (knock on wood). I do like making turkeys. But thats about it!

I often wonder that if I had been taught how to cook I may actually have grown to enjoy it. I often fantasize that one day I'm going to have an amazing kitchen with double ovens, a huge pantry, hanging black iron skillets, and a spice shelf that puts Fresh Markets to shame (yes, I stand by the Fresh Market Spice shelf and drool although I have no idea why). And once I have my amazing kitchen I'm going automatically know how to, and love to cook fantastic gourmet meals that are both delicious and nutritious for my wonderful family. I need to get my kitchen first though to see if this fantasy actually pans true. And maybe J will get a big pay raise too so I can buy decent meat and fresh crisp vegetables for every meals. My fantasies also include me going out every day to pick only the freshest cuts of meats and bread, with locally farm grown veggies picked off the stem that day. This is how I know it's pure fantasy folks. Where the hell would I even find time to go food shopping on a daily basis?!?

Most evenings I start cooking dinner around 4:30-5pm. While I hate cooking it's my job during the weekdays, and trying to wrangle the stove that makes the smoke detector go off if I even contemplate boiling water and 3 kids who are getting tired, irritable and clingy, I go for efficiency when I choose dinner meals. My favorite lately has been semi premade meals from the Macaroni Grill with Chicken. Think Hamburger Helper but without the taste of cardboard and actually really good. We learned quickly that canned chicken breast works really well with it. I can generally whip up a decent meal with it in 15 minutes, plus be able to help Zavi with his homework, jiggle Soren on my hip and dance around with Ashe, keeping all three kids if not entertained, at least busy and quiet.

So tonight I decided we were going to have Macaroni Grills Creamy Chicken and Basil. I heated up the water and started cooking the noodles, and began melting butter for the chicken. I pulled out a can of canned chicken and placed Soren in his exersaucer so that I could saute the chicken without worrying about him getting scorched. I picked up our hand held manual can opener and started to open the can. I began to vaguely remember J mentioning that our can opener seemed to be busted the other day as I stood there, hand cranking the opener over and over and nothing was happening. We didn't have any extras or alternatives and I began to realize I may be in a spot of trouble here, dinner wise.

For a few minutes I tried in vain to get the damn thing to work. I opened it up, checked the insides (looked fine but what the heck do I know?) tried putting it back on tighter... to no avail. In a fit of desperation as I glanced at the now boiling pasta I decided to try something hardcore. I ran to the laundry room, half jumping over Ashe in the hallway who was trying to dive bomb and grab my legs to bring me down to his level, and yanked open the laundry room door searching for my tool box. Digging through it I pulled out a hammer and a screwdriver and raced back to the kitchen. By now Soren was whimpering to be picked up, Zavi was yelling questions about homework from the dining room across the hall and Ashe chased after me and pinioned my legs together wrapping his entire body on my shins and singing loudly. Already I could feel a head ache forming.

I grabbed the can of chicken, placed it in the center of the counter, put the screw driver on top and started hammering the top until the screwdriver broke through the metal surface. With a pop I had success. But then I looked down and realized, after noting how small the hole I had just made in the can was, how long this was going to take. Nevertheless I was insistent on at least giving it a good try. Smelling the melting butter in the awaiting frying pan, I took a deep breath and continued hammering away at the can.

After about 5 minutes and only 3 inches of the can opened I tried another tactic. I took the hammer and tried prying the can open enough to get the chicken out. no luck. So I tried a wine bottle opener. Nope. In a fit of desperation I grabbed a kitchen knife and tried sawing through the can top in the hopes that it would be faster. Fail. By now Soren is beyond pissed off and letting it be known, Ashe is trying to placate him by poking his chubby sticky (why are toddler hands always sticky no matter how many times you wash them?) fingers into Sorens jowls and Zavi is yelling at me that the butter is burning. And I'm ready to just scream. But I cant because if I do I'll scare the kids which will set off a domino reaction of wails and screams.

Instead of screaming I throw down my implements of canned chicken torture and just give up. I run up to J and bluster that we need a new damned can opener tomorrow morning, and run back downstairs to figure something out.We're not having Macaroni Grill tonight folks. I slam open my kitchen cabinets in a desperate search for something to go with the noodles and come up with spaghetti sauce. I hate spaghetti and sauce but at this point anything will do. I drain the now overcooked noodles, toss in some sauce (careful not to put too much in or J makes faces) and butter up some bread. I slap everything together and dole out portions, yelling at Zavi to clean off the table and Ashe would you go tell Daddy dinners ready?

In the end everyone but Ashe ate the spaghetti with no complaints. Zavi even asked for seconds, and I doled half my meal onto his empty plate. I plan on going out tomorrow and purchasing a new can opener. One that's electric. And sits on the counter. None of this manual crap we've used for years. And I'm contemplating making myself a real screwdriver once the kids are asleep. You know, the one with orange juice and vodka.


Anonymous said...

Oh, reminds me of going camping and forgetting the good can opener that doesn't come from surplus army rations. I think a hammer and screw driver works better then they do.

Though we have a electric can opener, I still prefer a good Swing Away. The lesson we learn the hard way was to never wash the grease off the thing. Handle and rest of it we washed, but no soap ever is to touch the blade.

I would teach you to cook, but I'm having to learn new methods of how to cook without dairy products.If I can find a replacement for the cheese in a grilled cheese sandwich I'll be happy.

Andrea (ace1028) said...

I can totally picture this and it's making me cry. Woman, I SO hear you when a Macaroni Grill meal is a fancy dinner in the house. Seriously. Get yourself two good OXO ones and you're set. Manual. We had some crazy "electric" one that hubby bought the whole family for the holidays one year and it was total crap. Seriously. Stay away. I will say I'm mega-impressed that you actually have a tool box. You go, girl. ;)