I’ve never been that into cooking.
There are two reasons for this:
- I eat too fast, so the ratio of preparation time to eating time feels a bit unsatisfactory.
- I’m not great at cleaning up after myself, so prefer to make meals that can be consumed from the same container they were prepared in.
Still, I’m trying to work on “mindfulness” and eating “cleaner” (as in simple, healthy food; not how my kitchen looks after preparation) and recently signed up for Abundant Harvest Organics, a weekly service that delivers farm fresh, locally grown, organic produce to my door.
In the more recent past, this is something I would generally shy away from, having learned my lesson from the before-recent past that I’m probably going to end up with a weekly week-old supply of moldy fruits and a produce drawer filled with liquified veggies. However, the AHO site includes suggestions for produce storage and preparation, as well as recipes based on the contents of each week’s box, which seems somewhat encouraging.
As I looked through the recipes for next week’s box, I visualized my Abundant Harvest Organic receiving self:
I’m coming home from yoga, setting my bag down, taking off my shoes, giving my cat Marley some love, then slipping on an apron and preparing a healthy, nutritious meal that looks like an artist’s palette of fresh vegetables and quinoa.
After mindfully enjoying each morsel of my “good energy” meal prepared with gratitude and love, I’d take some time to upload the pictures I’d taken of it here, to my blog, to illustrate the recipes I’d share with you, dear readers. Your comments, with pictures of your own version of each dish, would inspire me to push past my culinary comfort levels, eager for others to benefit from my new found love of healthy eating.
Then Bananas Foster happened: It’s rum-fueled flames melting my matching retro cherry patterned wings and apron like a domestic Icarus, my culinary aspirations spiraling as they plunged to their death.
I’ve been really into bananas lately and had a few that were perfectly ripe. Craving something warm, I decided to attempt a vegan version of Banana’s Foster. (I’m not vegan, I just ran out of butter.)
After making a successful “practice batch” for which I winged the recipe (and did not flambe it), I decided to find an actual recipe that I was willing to risk four bananas for.
It got off to a rocky start – something seemed off, but I told myself that once I flambe it, it should turn out just fine. It took me several matches and a bunch of extra rum to get things flambe-ing (I have enough self-awareness to know there was no way I was going to be able to pull off the “tip the pan to the flame” move), but I finally got a bit of a flame going.
For a brief moment, I entertained the thought of texting a couple of my neighbors to see if they would like some freshly made Bananas Foster. I don’t have many opportunities to feel domestic and neighborly, and for a few seconds I indulged the idea that it’s finally my time to cross the threshold from “single neighbor people bring home-cooked treats to” to “single neighbor who brings people yummy treats”.
“Where did you get the recipe?” they’d ask. “Oh, it’s so easy. Remind me to email it to you. The trick is to flambe it at just the right point,” I’d reply.
Then I noticed the flame was out. It still didn’t look quite right, but the bananas were starting to liquify, so I turned off the stove and spooned some into a bowl.
And I remembered a third reason why I rarely cook: More often than not, my meal ends up looking like something a four year old “cooked” for you while playing in the back yard – a Frisbee for a plate, with a blend of grass and weeds, served over a puree of sand and mud, and garnished with some twigs and a pine cone.
Enough hours have now passed to permit me to look back on my harrowing experience, framed in the perspective that only the passage of time allows.
At the time, I attributed the sooty color to using a cast iron pan, hypothesizing that perhaps it had something to do with the alcohol in the rum simmering in a poorly seasoned piece of cookware.
Gazing at the concoction, now cool to the touch, I still believe this theory to be true, and have but one regret: