Tuesday, October 30, 2007

They're There, Just Dormant

I used to cook/bake a lot, okay, maybe not a lot, but definitely more than I do now. Now, we have a maid and she does most of the cooking, despite the fact that for a long time her cooking was bad, actually more like terrible. But, as bad as it was, having her do it still meant that I didn't have to. After we had lived in Peru for a few months our friends starting asking us for our weight loss secrets. Neither of us being on a diet, we thought this curious, until we realized that we had kind of stopped eating. The food served at our house was so bad that we were only eating enough to keep from feeling hungry, but the days of overeating or heaping portions or seconds were long gone.

After some consideration we concluded that the problem was not the ingredients we were buying, but the horrible things happening to the ingredients after leaving the store. Meat was marinated (yes, that's right) in soy sauce and then cooked for HOURS. Vegetables were soaked in salt and oil and then seasoned again with something called Sillao which is Peruvian soy sauce and truly disgusting. Perfectly happy rice and pasta were cooked with whole cloves of garlic and more salt than anyone should eat ever to the point that we consumed half a glass of liquid with every bite. At first I thought it was just that Peruvian food is bad, but we had some solid evidence that such a generalization really couldn't be true. Then, I bought cookbooks in Spanish which I think were looked at, but I'm pretty sure our maid had never learned to follow a recipe (and trust me, I now know this is a skill) so this did nothing to help our cause. Finally, I tried teaching her to make recipes for things we like to eat, Enchiladas, Spaghetti and Meatballs, Chili, but the results were dismal failure. Clearly, something had to be done. We hired a woman from our church congregation to come to our rescue. And did she ever! The food in our house has transformed (back to food). Vegetables and meat are recognizable AND edible! Rice tastes like rice, not garlic, and we are starting to get less Peruvian cuisine and more international variety. SUCCESS!

Ironically, through all of this, mostly because of a language barrier, I spent less and less time in the kitchen - short of doing everything myself I couldn't solve the problem and watching the process was like watching a train wreck knowing you were powerless to intervene. Now, with our food problems on the mend I have returned and rediscovered that when I say I hate to cook, what I actually mean is, I hate to clean up afterwards. My cooking and baking skills have had a rebirth and the proof is in the pudding, or rather cake. I recently make a double chocolate rum cake with raspberry rum glaze and shiny chocolate sauce from SCRATCH!! I dirtied 3 sauce pans, 2 mixing bowls, my kitchenaid and countless utensils and measuring devices but is was DELICIOUS! It was a new recipe for me, and I think the beginning of new culinary adventures...maybe.
Culinary skills dormant no more - and it looks pretty too!


Anonymous said...

How dare you say this about my cooking! I guess you didn't know that I read your blog -- or that I spoke English!

Jessica said...

I can never make bundt anything look good...that cake looks amazing.

And I love to cook, but if I had a maid, I would have a no problem whatsoever allowing it to go on without me.

Kristy said...

I'm glad to hear you guys aren't going through gallons of oil these days. Aida to the rescue!

The cake looks great! The clean-up is always a downside to me of baking. Remember how great it was last year when we had Thanksgiving dinner and didn't have to worry about cleaning up?!? That was fabulous!

Anonymous said...

Mmmmmmm, can I have the recipe for that bundt cake?

Sebastian's Tia Elizabeth

Paige said...

That cake looks amazing, if it tastes amazing too we have a problem. Is that a Demarle pan?

I'm hoping you get more yummy food in Venezuela! Do you need me to send you some good powdered sugar and cocoa and stuff? I'm concerned it might be hard to get and a pg girl needs her baked goods. OK, we all do.

Heather said...

Being the sole recipients of said cake outside of the Crisler-Jackman household, we can attest to Linsey's culinary prowess. Even though she later observed that the cake is better the next day, not a crumb was left of our 1/2 of the cake that very same evening. Cheers to not having to clean up after yourself!

Heather, Carlos and Sebastian

Ilene said...

So perhaps this post makes me feel a little less envious over the south american maid thing. Just a little, though.

I am with you on the clean-up factor. I love to cook but am a horrible slob when it comes to cooking. I kind of like that fact though because it often prevents me from making a pie or cake which consequently keeps me from weighing another 100 lbs.


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