It’s My Party

I may or may not have recently celebrated another birthday.  You’d have to check my driver’s license to know for sure but hypothetically speaking, let’s just say that I am now a year older than I used to be.  As Truvy said in Steel Magnolias “Honey, time marches on and eventually you realize it is marchin’ across your face.”  In honor of that, I’d like to tell past me a few things. 

1.  You really should have paid more attention to what was going on in the kitchen when you were growing up.  By the time it occurs to you to ask MamMom for her recipes, she’s stopped cooking.  Getting her to put her recipes down on paper will be an exercise in frustration.  But stick with it because her chicken noodle soup tutorial is priceless.

2.  Pork chops, roasts, and steaks are not supposed to be dry, lifeless, and void of flavor.  The sooner you unlearn this lesson, the better.

3.  The reason most foods were cooked to the point of being leathery is because that’s how there were asked to be fixed.  It was not, repeat was not, operator error.

4.  You will never again have to eat liver and onions.  Get over it and move on girl.

5.  Believe it or not, one day you will decide that beets aren’t awful.

6.  Ditto for radishes.

7.  No matter how hard you try, your BLT’s will never taste as good as MamMom’s.  Hers were made with love and you can’t get that out of a bottle, jar, or thick cut bacon.

8.  You will make up with barbecue sauce.  It will take a long time but it will happen.

9.  You will not make up with tacos.  And you’re ok with that.

10.  Rhubarb. What the heck took you so long to try it?

11.  If you only do one thing during the trip to Scotland, order the lentils at The Witchery.  Please and thank you.

12.  Give fresh peas a chance, even if it means getting up at an ungodly hour on a Saturday to get to the Farmers Market.  You will not be disappointed.

13.  You need to face down this fear of yeast.  Until you do, it will get the best of you each and every time.

14.  You might want to rethink going with the side by side refrigerator.

15.  How many dishtowels does one person REALLY need?

16.  Enjoy strawberries, blueberries, nuts, and corn while you can.  Because you won’t always be able to.  And you will be sad.

17.  Don’t waste your money on the Sunbeam mixer.  It may look pretty but it won’t work nearly as hard as the Kitchen Aid.

18.  The stainless steel will never look as good as the day it was installed.  A microfiber cloth and old fashioned elbow grease will become your best cleaning tools.

19.  Learn to let go of needing to feel in control all the time.

20.  Share what you know.  The more you give away, the more you’ll get back.

21.  You are your worst critic so try and be a little kinder to yourself and less critical of a perceived ‘fail’.

22.  Remember to get the knives sharpened twice a year.

23.  Go easy on the sweets.  Those 40 pounds are already stalking you.

24.  Make your own frozen meals and leave the Lean Cuisine at the grocery store.

25.  Trader Joe’s is pretty awesome.  Forget your first impression of the place on that date.

26.  That’s right, some guy you meet online will want to take you to Trader Joe’s on a date.  And for reasons I can not explain, you will go.

27.  Trust your instincts.

28.  Brine, brine, brine.

29.  Please acquaint yourself with one Andy Nelson BBQ of Hunt Valley as soon as possible.

30.  Instead of buying the Cuisinart ice cream maker, the Kitchen Aid attachment might be a better choice from a storage perspective.

31.  Your future husband will have a weird fascination with putting “sauce” on everything.  Get used to the idea now.

32.  Neither Paula nor Ina are infallible.  Sometimes you just won’t like their recipes.  It’s ok.

33.  The Minamalist.  Look him up when this World Wide Web thing comes your way.

34.  You’ll never really enjoy picking steamed crabs.

35.  Or eating sushi.

36.  Despite what they say, Country Time does not taste just like that good old fashioned lemonade.

37.  Not that you will eat fast food much but beware the supersize phenomenon.

38.  Taste for seasoning as you go along.

So there we have it.  38 things I wish I had known earlier.  What do you know now that you wish you knew sooner?

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20 Responses to It’s My Party

  1. I love your list. I totally agree about Country Time Lemonade–yuck! And I’m sorry, but you broke up with tacos?!? The horror!

  2. 38…seems like a convenient number 😉

    I can echo several of the things on this list…but I think my biggest food lesson so far in my 28 years is that fresh food just tastes better. And cooking can be fun.

  3. …and an add on, cooking can be fun, but baking ROCKS!

  4. Reading your list made me smile…me thinks we were born in the same year! 🙂 My addition to the list:
    Dinty Moore stew is not in a human food group
    Mushrooms are not meant to be slimy and from out of a can
    Neither are green beans
    Dinner does not always need to consist of a Campbell’s soup ingredient (really, ever)
    Don’t be afraid to use kosher salt on food
    Always open a bottle of wine when cooking (the food will taste better for it!)
    Never freak if a detail for a dinner party got forgotten…roll with it and remain flexible!

    Oh, I could go on…but, you did such a great job compiling already!
    Kristin

    • Wendi says:

      Kristin, Dinty Moore and I are old friends but we haven’t seen each other for ages and ages. I love seeing what other people would tell themselves.

  5. Jessica says:

    I’m still learning about control…and not having it (but I LOVE it so!)…also? Body Glide. It’s a miracle thing…if you’re a runner or chafe easily…

    • Wendi says:

      Jessica, control and I are constantly going head to head.

      Thanks for clarifying the Body Glide reference. For a second I was worried about my PG13 rating.

  6. Brooke says:

    I wish I paid attention to my mom in the kitchen. I made her tuna casserole last night and honestly could not remember her ever making a meal. I think I was tucked up in my room doing homework or something. Cooking [and eating] is so much better than homework. Boo Brooke, boo.

  7. Brooke says:

    And Happy Birthday! Wish you the happiest of happies. 🙂

    • Wendi says:

      Thanks Boo. Did ya catch that Steel Magnolias quote? I swear in another life you were a Phi Mu.

      • Brooke says:

        Truvy’s kind words usually don’t slip by. Neither do Ouiser’s. I think in another life I was Ouiser’s younger sister.
        Is SM a PhiMu fave? We watched a lot of Mystic Pizza. Which really isn’t that great of a movie.

  8. Emily says:

    It wouldn’t have mattered whether you were in the room or not…….if she didn’t want you to see what she was doing you would have been blacked out. I was not allowed NEAR the stove ( she’ll burn the house down) until I was 13 and they thought it was time to get some work out of me. My grandmother taught me to make stuffed cabbage and Christmas cookies. I watched her do the Christmas turkey.

    Last time I ate LIVER……… the day my son was born. It’s what’s for dinner at the hospital. You got here too late to order dinner. My mother just sat there and looked at the shoeleather without gravy and grey potatoes on the plate.

    She pushed the lima beans around and said OMG! IT’S LIVER!” I told her to cut it up fine, hide it in the grey stuff and I swallowed it whole. last time I ate liver no regrets

    Let go of being in control ? NEVER! LOL

  9. Jen W. says:

    I’ve so glad to read your #34. I’ve always felt like a bad Baltimorean for that one. What don’t you like about the side by side refrigerator? Not that I have one or am looking to by one, but just in case I’m in the market in the future…

    I’ve learned – and am still learning – #21. I actually have more fun writing about the recipes that don’t work out (self-deprecation comes naturally to me), but I can still beat myself up when I make mistakes. I’ve also learned that you can not always make substitutions when baking. Whole wheat flour, applesauce/yogurt, and honey/maple syrup are not necessarily good stand-ins for all-purpose flour, butter, and sugar. But who am I kidding; I know I’ll keep substituting away. 🙂

    • Wendi says:

      Jen, I know what you mean about having guilt over not having Old Bay in my veins. I like crab, I just don’t like picking them. I prefer my crab in a nice tidy cake.

      Maybe if we could have gotten a wider fridge I wouldn’t hate the side by side as much as I do. Ours is so narrow that I can’t fit a sheet pan in the fridge and I can never tell what is buried in the freezer.

      I agree that it’s easier to come up with a story about what goes wrong.

      Keep substituting. It never occurs to me to even try.

  10. Emily says:

    just do not go tohospital in Chicago! REmember! this used to be the world capital of stockyards and slaughterhouses!. I have managed to refrain ever since.

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