If you are following my extraordinarily infrequent posts, you know I am learning to cook… extraordinarily infrequently. And in Carol-Land, “learning to cook” means “cooking something in which no ingredient starts with the word ‘Stouffers.’ ”
My friend Kelly, in a moment of either sheer grandiosity, debilitating guilt, or fear of public embarrassment should she say ‘no’ (I know all the ex-boyfriend stories, and I’m not afraid to use them)… agreed to impart her culinary wisdom in doses my system could tolerate without having negative side effects.
Or so I thought.
My first step into the world of non-Stouffer’s cuisine was Potato and Leek Soup, chosen because I bought five pounds of potatoes on sale and realized I had just over four pounds more than any one human needed. Kelly was astonished I had four pounds of potatoes, as if no one who knows what they are doing would buy the five pound bag of potatoes! C’mon! They were on sale!
(Yes, I made the soup and took pictures of the whole sordid process. I’ll post about it once I find the cable that allows me to get the pictures out of the camera).
As part of her mentoring Kelly has been telling me I need to go to the farmer’s market. She proclaims, “Everything is more satisfying when it’s fresh and local!”, which for some reason sounds vaguely sexual to me. The fact that I have food and sex paired up in my head probably explains a lot about my current dress size, but moving on, keep walking, nothing to see here…
So today I go to the local farmer’s market. Toward closing time the Guys-Who-Sell-Sweet-Red-Peppers indicate they want to get rid of their inventory. I pull out my last four dollars and ask how many I can get for four bucks. One guy hands me a plastic bag and says, “As many as you can get in there.”
So I’m here to tell you, forty-three peppers are as many as you can get in there and still close the bag. I was quite proud of myself.
I took the peppers home and immediately called my mentor:
Carol: I need to freeze some peppers. After I slice them, what quantity should I bag them in?
Chef Kelly: Are they sweet bell peppers?
Carol: Uh, yeah, is there another kind of pepper?
I could have sworn I heard a big sigh on the phone, but it might have been my imagination.
Chef Kelly: What you need to do is to slice them and put the slices on a large cookie sheet so that none of them are touching each other, then freeze them on the cookie sheet, then transfer them to a plastic bag so they won’t stick together when you take them out.
Carol: But I don’t think I can do that. I have a lot of peppers.
Chef Kelly: How many peppers do you have?
Carol: Uh… about forty.
Then the unthinkable happened:
“FORTY PEPPERS? YOU HAVE FORTY PEPPERS? WHAT ARE YOU DOING WITH FORTY PEPPERS?!?”
She yelled! What in the world?!? Is she watching too many Hell’s Kitchen reruns? I mean, really, Kelly was acting as if no one who knows what they are doing would go to a farmer’s market and buy forty-three peppers! C’mon! They were on sale!
So I ask you… is your mentor supposed to YELL at you?
Isn’t that dangerous? You know, like if you yell at a dog who accidentally poops on the carpet, and then the dog gets confused and is afraid to walk on carpet ever again?
What if I am afraid to walk into the farmer’s market ever again?
Thank goodness I didn’t tell her about the deal I found on okra.