My friend Jackie is a taller, younger version of Martha Stewart. With pearly blonde hair and legs up to my eyeballs, she represents the apex of domestication that I constantly strive to achieve. On Friday nights, while I am reading an Alexander Dumas novel in an old t-shirt and pair of ripped boxers, she is sitting at home baking bread as a hobby. On Saturday mornings, while I am sifting through articles about mudslinging political candidates, she is attending a home decorating class at the Pottery Barn, and on Saturday nights, as I arrive at her dinner party with grass stuck in my shoes and a Panera-baked loaf in hand, she is fluttering through the kitchen in a cocktail dress and a pair of heels, whipping up a carrot cake from scratch.
Jacqueline, as she often refers to herself, is a domestic diva, and I am not. However, that is about to change. Most people prefer to launch new projects and initiatives in the spring, when the flowers are blooming, the birds are singing, and the sun is shining warmly upon them. I, on the other hand, live in the city and am therefore constantly surrounded by variations of concrete regardless of the season—concrete buildings, concrete, sidewalks and concrete overpasses with the occasional metal street sign interspersed. As far as singing canaries go, I saw Alfred Hitchcock’s movie The Birds. I know what those small peckers are capable of.
Therefore, I am embarking on my journey to be a domesticated diva in the kitchen this fall when the grass is typically brown, the gardens are full of pumpkins, and the only bird near me is a raw, naked turkey. I am storming the kitchen at a time when food and fellowship is celebrated most—Thanksgiving and Christmas.
I, ladies and gentleman, am going to reinvent myself as an expert in the kitchen. But rather than pulling a Julie & Julia storyline, I won’t be cooking apple tarte tatin or beef bourguignon. Instead, I will be creating simple, creative dishes that won’t thin your wallet or fatten your belly. As a no-nonsense, give-it-to-me-straight kind of girl, I don’t have the time or the patience for dashing herbs or zesting melons. I’ve got the basic chicken, fish, and vegetables in my fridge, ten dollars in my wallet, and about thirty minutes after work to develop a tasty, no-hassle dinner.
So stay tuned for some easy recipes that you can use to satisfy your pallet and decorate your dinner table.
The Klutz in the Kitchen