That’s the photo grid summary of my first self-created food trip. I never tried to cook because I used to live in a house full of culinary geniuses. Cooking does not come naturally for me and I end up secondguessing my creations or attempts so I never really bothered. I was content with the consumer role.
And then I married my husband, a picky eater. For the first five months, I avoided the kitchen. My husband can cook my favorite spaghetti, leche flan, and his favorite sinigang.
I have long decided that I’d be the low maintenance geek who can live on leaves and computer pursuits. As the days go by, however, I slowly made peace with the kitchen. Tomorrow is the second anniversary of our engagement. And I wanted to begin my cooking attempts on this day so that I will remember it when I grow old with my husband.
The final straw that encouraged me to try cooking was a Lifehacking article online that suggested the role of one’s cooking to long-term happiness. Since I am frequently loopy and lethargic,I decided to test the theory.
The whole time I was telling myself: Hey you are a daughter of two cooking geniuses. Something right will happen if you try. So I did that and what do you know, I am so happy about it!
I looked for a fairly simple recipe. I was a complete noisy clumsy mess in the kitchen but I was all alone and nobody had to nag, criticize my methods, or make fun of my clumsiness.
The ingredients are quite few: the Italian spaghetti pasta, Del Monte tomato sauce, extra virgin olive oil, 2 cans of Century Tuna (hot and spicy), Nestle all-purpose cream, 3 garlic cloves, a single onion, and hot water.
In preparing the pasta, I made a tiny life hack. I measured 1 liter of water for one pound of pasta. I put in an extra factor for evaporation into gas after boiling. So it was really 1.1 liters. I put it in an electric kettle first and boiled it there before transferring it into the pan and shooting the pasta inside. I saved a bit of time since electric kettles have smaller bases and are technically faster in boiling the water.
I googled everything. I had to make sure the pasta won’t go soggy. I used engineering precision to time the pasta’s simmering at exactly eight minutes and tested the pasta’s texture thrice. It was fortunately successful. I think I placed it in the stove for nine minutes. I got a tip from an Italian blog that the starch boiling water can be used as magic ingredient to the sauce so I scooped that out after straining the pasta.
Googling only held one danger: I almost dropped my smartphone in the pasta. Maybe I can invent a cooking-proof iPad or casing? Lol.
The sauce was crucial and tricky. It will hold the taste and determine the fate of my al dente pasta. There were three tablespoons of olive oil heated on the Teflon pan which marked the beginning of sauce preps.
I began by putting in the garlic and onions. The onions hurt my eyes a lot. I think I said “this cruel world” over and over again while wiping my eyes in between mincing motions. It is a good thing to do when you need a desperate excuse to cry or clean your eyes.
I made a huge mistake here. The garlic turned black because the fire was turned up too high. But it turned out OK later on with a tiny spoon removal fix. I placed the tuna flakes (drained of its oil) and mixed. Then I put the tomato sauce packet, a deviation from the original sliced tomato instructions online. Afterwards, I mixed in the Nestle all purpose cream. I kept heating and reheating for an hour until my husband arrived from work.
I was going for the romantic candlelit look but it failed so I ended up using normal lighting in the end.
All in all, preparation time was a little under two hours. I could have saved time if I already sliced the onions while I simmered the pasta. But it’s really an OK job for an inexperienced beginner like me.
The best part was that my ultra picky husband loved the taste. Finally, he gets normal food from his super weird wife. I am just jumping for joy. He made some mild comments about the garlic and the salt and the cheese but he actually ate a lot without me forcing it. The taste was actually satisfactory. It tasted like pasta!!!
I am silently on the lookout for the next kitchen klutz project. This is a shocking discovery for me. I might stand a chance in being good at this, too, in my own strange way. And I am really excited because it’s something that wives do and I feel connected to the universe of cooking wives. I am no longer this awkward outsider to cooking. I love Math more but I cannot eat tensors and determinants for sustenance. At least I can feed my husband with a decent meal from time to time until I can do it everyday.
If a klutz for 29 years such as me can make this thing, any kitchen-averse person can recreate this dish. So I am sharing the recipe.
(To follow soon!)