4 Ingredients

The only thing that Julie from the movie Julie and Julia and I share is a name. I have never lived in New York City (although I certainly would if opportunity afforded it), I am not a newly wed (we’re clocking 13 years over in this corner), and perhaps most critically, I do not enjoy cooking.

I just don’t understand how people love to cook. It’s sort of how I just can’t understand how people love to go running. It’s not that I wouldn’t want to be able to cook and run, it’s just that I find myself facing a lot of failure when I do so. I have tried to acquire both skills and countless occasions.

And I will continue to try. Unlike the ‘movie Julie’, I don’t find cooking to be a way of releasing stress after work. Instead, I find it to be a stress-inducer. This stress is beyond the fact that, for a parent, cooking dinner is often just another chore on a very long list.

For me, cooking = failure, even public ridicule. I’m not even kidding — my parents love to tell a tale of how when my mom asked me to put spaghetti sauce in the pot, I took the sauce and dumped in the wrong pot. Yep, I dumped it in the boiling water. Hardy, har, har.

But, like I said, I’m going to keep trying at this cooking thing. I know I’ll never be a Julia Child, but at least I could pitch-in on this often tedious family chore.

My first step? It’s a cookbook called 4 Ingredients. Hey! Don’t laugh — it’s the number one cookbook in Australia. I picked it up while I was living in Sydney last year and hadn’t really even touched it except for a salad recipe that I used on a girlfriends’ getaway to hide my utter incompetence in the kitchen.

The whole premise of the book is that all its recipes involve only four ingredients, and they’re not weird ingredients that you’d have to hunt down at a specialty food store.

Tonight, I looked in the fridge and we had chicken breasts. Alrighty then … I looked into the “chicken” section of 4 Ingredients and found some possibilities. “Hon,” I said,  “if you want to take Stella to Jiu Jitsu, I’ll do dinner tonight.”

There was a long pause. Then he said, “uh, okay, sure.”

I picked a recipe called “Curry Mayonnaise Chicken.” (By “curry,” they’re referring to British curry, as opposed to Indian curry. It’s not spicy; it’s perfect family fare.) I thought hubby would like this, being Australian and having tastes that veer towards the other side of the pond.

This is it:
1.  6 chicken legs
2.  1/3 cup mayonnaise
3.  3 tsp. curry powder
4.  2 slices wholemeal bread, grated into breadcrumbs
Combine mayonnaise and curry, coat legs with the mixture. Roll in breadcrumbs and bake in a 180 C for 45 minutes or until tender.

Everything was going smoothly until I realized that the timer for the chicken was just about to beep and I hadn’t even starting boiling the potatoes (potatoes and salad were my side dishes). I opened the oven to see how well-done the chicken was. It looked kind of pink.

“Hmmm,” I thought, ” poisoning the family will sure go down in the family ridicule books.” Not good. So I checked the recipe again. It was 180 Celsius notFahrenheit! I was cooking on Fahrenheit, so Mr. Chicken needed a lot more time.

Long story short — no one got poisoned, family was suitably impressed, and hubby has now declared a “Mommy cooks one night a week” event.

So, did they actually like the meal?

Hubby gave it an 8/10. Stella gave it a 9/10. I gave it a 6/10 (I’m not a huge curry fan).

Edited to add: This post is now cross-posted on Blissfully Domestic, in the Blissful Delish section. You can see it here.

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5 Comments

Filed under Books, Family, Fitness & Food, Living, Media, Saving Time, Tales

5 responses to “4 Ingredients

  1. I’m excited! I’m as terrible and uninterested a cook as you are…my family has their own legend of the time I set the stove on fire while *boiling water*. Sad, I know.

    I used to have a cookbook called “The Bachelor’s Guide to Ward Off Starvation” and it was all about 3 and 4 ingredient recipes, usually involving opening cans and dumping stuff in pots. LOVED that book. I’m looking forward to hearing more about this 4 Ingredients book, and if you’d recommend it overall.

  2. I too have an uninterested chef in my household. I won’t name any names, but it’s my wife.

    You may have put tomato sauce in a pot of boiling water, but you haven’t lived until you have to put out a fire in your toaster oven because the taco shells someone is trying to reheat have combusted.

  3. Good job! I was a terrible cook until I found a great vegan cookbook… And I’m not even vegan! Baby steps, baby steps….

  4. Yay! A for effort!
    Personally, I LOVE cooking and baking, which I think comes from my dad. I’m not so fond of cleaning however…

  5. Pingback: 4 Ingredients — episode 2 « coffee with julie

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