Simply Contemplate: Whipping Up Yummy Things All Too Easily

wordy wednesday

This week I am baking up a storm for our church’s annual fancy bake sale, Confection Selection, that benefits the local Pregnancy Network. Baking reminded me of one of my favorite quotes from Make the Bread, Buy the Butter by Jennifer Reese, which is a laugh-out-loud funny and entertaining book, particularly if you’ve ever been caught with the “I can make that myself” bug in the kitchen.

Is that really a good rule?

‘Eat all the junk food you want as long as you cook it yourself,’ Michael Pollan writes in Food Rules. ‘If you made all the french fries you ate, you would eat them much less often, if only because they’re so much work. The same holds true for fried chicken, chips, cakes, pies, and ice cream. Enjoy these treats as often as you’re willing to prepare them – chances are good it won’t be every day.’

Oh, Michael Pollan, you underestimate me.

I can whip up a batch of fudge or salted caramels or batch of cookies all too quickly and easily. And eating caramels is so much preferable to wrapping them…

And, for a bonus, here’s another of my favorite parts from the book:

When my daughter, Isabel, was small and I worked full-time at an office, I used to pick her up at day care and rush to get home, where, if I put her in front of Dragon Tales and ran straight to the kitchen, I could get the chicken into the oven within fifteen minutes. Then I scrubbed my hands like a surgeon, sanitized everything the raw chicken had come within three feet of, mixed a gin and tonic, set the table, and tossed a salad. We never ate before eight, by which time Isabel was cantankerous and I was a little drunk.

I used to eye the rotisserie chickens, those warm, whiskey-brown birds under the heat lamp near the cash register at the supermarket. They smelled so seductive I wondered how a person could get one home without stopping by the side of the road to eat it with her fingers. My mother, by then a divorcee who was feeding only her footloose self, was always buying rotisserie chickens. I looked down on her for it. Rotisserie chickens were what you ate when you gave up. No, I was going to turn myself into a human pretzel to give my family a proper Norman Rockwell roast bird dinner at least once a week.

I so relate. And, we’re going to have a Costco rotisserie chicken for dinner on Monday. I guess I’ve given up on Norman Rockwell. ;)

8 Responses

  1. Ginger
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    Ha Ha. I consider Costco, Trader Joes my culinary assistants in the kitchen department, in old fashioned terms, my hand-maidens.
    I feel absolutely no quilt in purchasing an already roasted chicken and then using it three different ways. One night it’s greek night, the next day it’s chicken salad for lunch and the last it’s chicken soup or at least broth for other dishes.
    Not to mention it comes in a handy container that I don’t have to clean up.
    YEAH for COSTCO!

    • Mystie Winckler
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      Your handmaidens! I love it! :) A chicken is only one meal + broth at our house, and pretty soon I think we might be a 2-chicken family. But, priced per cooked pound (off the bone) it’s still a decent meat deal and not an extravagance. And it is so much better than any chicken I’ve ever roasted!

  2. Emily
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    While I used to love TJ’s prepared foods, my family is too big for them to go far now!

    Baking is pretty darn easy compared to frying (for me, at least), but if I had to do all the mixing by hand, I might rethink that.

  3. Brandy @ Afterthoughts
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    I always wonder if Michael Pollan has a family. I mean, he makes sense to a point, but he doesn’t seem to get how other people live — i.e., on an often slim budget, with lots of people to feed.

    I *have* in the past used that sort of thinking to help me limit my intake of sweets. Because it really *is* easier for me to grab a cookie from a package than it is to make a batch, etc. But to use it is a sort of rule would be oppressive, I think…

    • Mystie Winckler
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      It sure does not seem like he has to consider anyone other than himself.

      I can have a batch of cookie dough ready before the oven preheats….I think that comes from too much practice. :)

      • Brandy @ Afterthoughts
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        I think that *sometimes* much wealth coupled with an empty nest can seem like that, too. Plus only having one child really isn’t much to consider when making food until at least age 10! Surely Pollan has made a killing off of his book sales and speaking! Maybe he has forgotten what it was like to be young and poor…if he ever was. :)

    • dawn
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      So I was curious and went to Wiki: “Pollan is married to landscape painter Judith Belzer; the couple met while attending Bennington College. They have a son, Isaac, who attends Wesleyan University.[10][11] Pollan’s sister is actress Tracy Pollan, the wife of Michael J. Fox.”

      Fascinating.