A reader, since 2000, asks, once a week, “Sherrye, world famous chef, share some of your gourmet techniques with us, won’t you?”
Oh all right.
First, I choose one of the cardboard frozen items from the freezer.
“Put” a slit in the overwrap? With what? Already we are off to a bad start. Vagueness. I detest vagueness in my kitchen, where I spend at least 30 seconds a day. Usually I am standing in front of the microwave, wondering what it is capable of. Does it have a button I press that “puts” a slit in the overwrap for me? No. What good is it then? I paid money for this microwave. I expected things. I was misled.
Back to the drudgery of cooking. The directions. I’m not only to “put” (how?) a slit in the overwrap, but the slit is to be exactly one inch long. I find a ruler in my desk drawer. Stumped again. Note that the “directions” don’t tell me WHERE to “put” the one inch slit in the overwrap. To the side? At the left? In the dead center? At the very least, I will need a sextant and some charts. WHERE does the one inch slit I am to “put” in the overwrap go? This seems a critically important detail, does it not?
I’m exhausted. This is supposed to be an easy meal for a busy unemployable woman. Not an all day tool-chest rummage with calculus or whatever.
I’m awash in bewilderment. Who writes these directions? I go unemployed while some hack rushes through “writing” “instructions” and leaves out every other fucking step! They get paid well to write this sloppy shit.
I decide that all I can really do at this point is fake it.
I choose a random spot on the overwrap and measure one inch. The “directions” don’t even say I need to mark the inch, but I know by now the directions are woefully incomplete. So I use a Sharpie and mark it off. Jesus H, how the fuck are people who never cook supposed to contend with this if someone like me is having this much difficulty? It would be like someone tossing you the keys to a race car at Indy and saying, “Be sure to go 200 mph and try to win, that’s the goal.”
Gee, thanks for all the instructions, Mr. Andretti. This is how I end up a big fireball smashed into the wall, with the scene played over and over in slo-mo on the JumboTron.
BTW, I did burn a guy’s kitchen cabinet a while back. Caught it on fire. Fucking kitchens. All I did was loop a dish towel over the cabinet’s handle. I’d just used the dish towel to take a pizza out of what the guy called an “oven.” He was taking a shower, blah blah. I sat down to eat and out of the corner of my eye there’s this big blaze going. “Hello?” I said. I was near panic. “I think you better get in here.” I had to repeat it a few times. He finally comes in, all wet in a towel that wasn’t on fire, and I was just about to get up MYSELF and try to deal with the fire, but here he was, so no need now, right? He threw it on the wood floor and stomped it out with his bare feet and I kept eating pizza because if there’s one thing I know in life it’s that a so-called emergency really doesn’t require you to stop eating. Dirty Harry walks out to get the bank robber dude in that one movie, while still chewing his hot dog, remember? I mean. Learn from the great films.
Sure, I feel bad that I burned the guy’s kitchen cabinet. His cabinets are all white, too. Now one is white with a black torchy look going up the side.
But my point is, this “put” a slit somewhere in the overwrap and cook at 50% power shit is exactly how race car drivers end up in fiery deaths.
I mean, the instruction-writing hack suddenly decides to throw in a power change. Cook at “50%” power. GOD I HATE THAT. I have since learned to read in the frozen foods section carefully before I buy. If there’s nonsense about slits and 50% power, you’ve just lost yourself a customer, mister.
So, they don’t tell me what to use for making the slit, or where exactly to place the slit, but now we’re going to be super specific, suddenly, without explanation, about the power setting?
OK, slit is “put” in, one inch, used scissors (machete in garage, too lazy), and using “life line” friend to help with “50% power” part.
Me: Hi. So I’m making this Mexican frozen dinner, and it says cook at 50% power. What happens if I just use 100%? Wouldn’t that be faster? More efficient?
Life Line Friend: Hello, you’ve reached the Butterball turkey hotline. We’re not taking calls yet because, well, it’s not anywhere near Thanksgiving–
And now it says cook on HIGH for a minute and 45 seconds. WTF?
I only buy the shit with “cook on high 5 minutes, do not peel back overwrap” now. NO power changes. NO timing changes. NO cutting slits and measuring and calibrating.
If it says anything about “stirring” and “re-covering,” or ungodly shit like “only uncover the peas, then spoon the sauce over the other crap,” fucking forget it.
Well, there you have it. All my cooking secrets. As promised.1