Friday, February 11, 2011

One Good Dinner.

Slow Cooker Beef Short Ribs w/ MGD gravy

It is not a fancy dinner but it represents me in a lot of ways.  I'm a decent cook but it took a lot of work to get here.  When I left for college (um, 13 years ago) my only expert dish was a mean plate of spaghetti where the sauce came from a can (yes, I said can). That was the very first thing I ever made for my husband.  We both can't remember our first date together but we both remember that first home cooked meal like it was yesterday. 

Since we were both still living in the residence halls on campus, we borrowed a friend's efficiency apartment for an evening.  I was so nervous to cook for him.  The comment my parents made to me years earlier was weighing on my mind, "you better marry a chef because no one else is going to want to marry you if you don't know how to cook". I thought that night was a make-it or break-it kind of night.  In addition to the spaghetti and frozen garlic bread, I made him this dessert that was nothing more than those snack brownies cut into pieces and mixed in a bowl with chocolate sauce (from a can), cool whip,  strawberries, and bananas.  We ate it on my friend Jenni's bunked futon couch in front of her television and watched a movie on her VCR.  I asked him how the meal was and his response was, "fine, it was just spaghetti, it's not like you made it from scratch or anything". 

Tonight's meal wasn't a recipe.  That's the biggest change in my cooking.  As I have become more and more confident in my abilities I've been able to ditch the recipe cards.  Today I just threw some beef in the slow cooker and added ingredients that I like on (or with) a plain old burger: half of a red onion (I rarely cook without onions), two cloves of garlic, an {almost} full can of MGD beer (wink), the end of the BBQ sauce bottle in my fridge (probably 1/4 cup), and a squeeze of ketchup. I cooked the beef on high for approx. 4 hours.  Oh, and the potatoes!  My friends, I can cook some mean mashed potatoes, I can cook these delicious babies with my eyes closed. We'll get to my love of potatoes some other day.

Many things have changed and evolved in the 13 years we have been together but one thing has remained constant: I cook because I am always searching for more than "fine".  His response to tonight's meal: "good".

I'd love to hear from others.  Post your comments here and tell me why you cook.

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