Geoffrey Long
Tip of the Quill: Archives
When I am as I am.

As I'm typing this, a can of Campbell's chunky clam chowder is having its molecules vibrated in a tiny little box in the kitchen. As I was pouring it into the bowl, I was struck by the way it glopped out of the can – with almost the exact same sound and shape as a can of cat food. I thought, "When I am rich, I will really learn to cook. No more of this fast food, no more heat-n-eat, no more takeout or delivery, just nightly meals made with fresh ingredients from interesting, international recipes."

That thought was immediately followed by, "When and if I am ever rich, I will almost certainly be too busy to have that kind of time."

This is depressing. Bachelor life kind of sucks sometimes.


Truth told, eating fresh ingredients certainly is little more expensive (if not cheaper) than eating pre-processed and ready-made stuff.

Take hummus. It's two cans of chick peas, some tahini (sesame paste), garlic, some olive oil, and some lemon. Puree in food processor, or mash with mortar and pestle as you prefer.

Spaghetti sauce: saute onions and garlic in olive oil, add some ground beef (or turkey, sausage, or no meat at all) and brown (in other words, it's done when it looks like you'd be willing to eat it). Add in a green pepper, some basil, organo, ground pepper, and a touch of salt. Add two cans of crushed tomato, a heaping tablespoon of tomato paste, and let simmer until you want to eat it. I know you can eat pasta.

Interesting recipies? I recommend Julie Sahni's "Classic Indian Cooking." Amazing yellow book, which not only has great traditional recipies, but tells you about the history and context for everything you're making.

But don't blame not cooking on your financial state; eating fresh veg may be more expensive than noodles three times a day, it isn't as expensive as some other options. And cooking, once you start doing it, is just a matter of experimenting on friends.

And who doesn't like experimenting on friends? Especially if they promise you can have their computer if they die.... BWAHAHAH!

Oh. Sorry. :)

One word you: Progresso.

I like their clam chowder way better than Campbells!

Actually, the problem isn't so much the finances as much as the time. Even now, the reason I eat so much fast food instead of cooking anything is because I'm ALWAYS working on something. I tend to eat when I get hungry, which usually involves finding something that only requires a couple of minutes to make, which I can then eat while catching up on some TV show I'd TiVo'ed for a break, and then it's right back to work again. Yeah, there's not a lot of money right now, but there's even less time.

We cooked together while you were here in this place that has no equal - this majestic capitol low down in a swamp, this Washington, DC. Anyway, cooking need not be all that complicated, daunting, expensive or time consuming.

Unfortunately, I tend to be a little obsessive about it (just like everything else in my life). I hope that didn't drive you from wanting to cook. :) I agree with Matt, experiment on your Chicago friends. Tell Talon it will be good for him. :)

Enjoy, it's only food.

Hey, when you are rich you can pay someone to be your personal chef. The bonus of that is, not only do you get the gourmet meals prepared for you, they will most often DO THE DISHES afterward!! Talk about the good life... while you're at it, you could have your own pastry chef for desserts and invite your friends (and fellow Kenyon Alum) over for dinner and dessert.

-Nick F

P.S. I agree that clam chowder and mushroom soup remind me of cat food upon being "poured" (used in the most liberal terms) from the can. -NF

Nick, you spend a LOT of time in the kitchen. You're very very good at it, but I don't have that kind of time to throw at the project.

Aw, crap.

Now I feel like a bowl of clam chowder...

One more mention here...Rachael Ray's 30 Minute Meals on the Food Network is a great way to cook quickly and tastily. Sure, it's 6 times as long as nuking clam chowder, but still, not too shabby for half an hour...

It is entirely possible to cook for yourself quickly. Do not use the amount of time Nick spends in the kitchen as a model. Rachel Ray's 30-minute meal cookbooks are okay, from what I've seen. There are lots of "cook fast" type cookbooks out there--go explore your local library. One of the biggest parts of being able to put food on the table (or TV tray) quickly is having major ingredients on hand so that there is no shopping needed at the point of which you are hungry.

I suggest the magazine Quick Cooking. Ed's mom got me a subscription and I liked it so much I kept the subscription up to date even after I left the guy!


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