My boys take sadistic delight in telling their friends that I don't know how to cook. I take exception to this sentiment; I am an excellent cook but I don't do it often. I worked in a restaurant kitchen in high school and used to have nightmares about the dinner or lunch rush. I cooked enough meals to last several lifetimes. Also, with sporting events on multiple evenings each week 12 months out of the year, concession stand food and fast food are my friends (unless, of course, I need to get on the scale).
Their friends will tell you that I make outstanding pancakes, french toast, and scrambled eggs. Breakfast and baking are my specialties. I have a great spread on holidays as well, when I cook for 20 people.
Last night, after going a little stir crazy being snowed in most of the day, I decided to make a meatloaf. This is another of my prize recipes. Except I don't really use a recipe--at least not as it's written. I have a friend I'll call "Kate" who is a very good cook. She will tell you, though, that she almost always uses a recipe and prefers one with a picture. I figure if I don't know what it's supposed to look like, no one else does either, so if it comes out looking lopsided no one is the wiser.
I view the cooking process--especially with pancakes and meatloaf and other such meals--to be something of a science experiment. Measuring spoons and cups are guidelines, not precision tools. I have secret ingredients that I use in my pancakes that mean no one else will ever make them the same way. Same goes for the meatloaf, and frankly, both of these are kind of like snowflakes: no 2 batches are ever the same.
I got mixed reviews for my meatloaf last night. The eldest and youngest were torn. I mixed so many things together that every taste was a new adventure. They weren't too certain they were ready for that. The 17 year old, on the other hand, was very appreciative. I'll give you all my ingredients, but since I didn't measure anything, I can't give you proportions. My megaloaf contained:
Ground beef; sausage; 2 eggs; milk, clubhouse crackers; honey bbq sauce; chicken wing sauce, seasoned salt, onions, tastefully simple onion onion and garlic garlic, Worcester sauce, oregano, basil, cilantro, and mozzarella cheese.
Any suggestions for my next experiment?