So, You Think You Can’t Cook. Well, let me ask you this, can you read? If you can read and count and follow directions, you can follow a recipe and if you can follow a recipe, you can cook. The little rat Remy from the Pixar movie Ratatouille, had a motto (actually it was Gusteau’s motto) that said, “Anyone can cook” and I believe that is true.
Now, this is not to say that everyone can be a good cook – it is just that anyone can follow a recipe. And nowadays, you barely need to be able to do that. There are videos everywhere teaching us how to do everything from learning a new computer program to cutting and styling hair and even how to repair your own car engine. The key with all of those efforts is having the right tools for the job. Once you have the right tools and good instruction, if you’re following directions (and counting and reading) YOU’RE COOKING!
Where to begin? For some, it’s perhaps more a matter of not liking the task/chore/work of cooking. If this is you, I completely understand (yes, really, even people in my field find it less than a day at the circus sometimes and it’s just about as fun as all the monkeys getting loose and the tent falling down around your ears. I may or may not be speaking metaphorically. Begin with something simple. You want something quick and easy, maybe even something a child could do. As you practice and gain some confidence, as with anything, you will become more at ease and more skilled. You may even find there are some things to like about being in the kitchen.
Here’s a recipe that has very few ingredients, requires very little skill and has very few steps. This might be a good starting point. Don’t let the picture scare you, we’re not doing anything that fancy today.
Fried Egg Sandwich
1 pat of butter
2 pieces of bread
1 slice of cheese
Condiments of your choice
Using a small skillet or frying pan, heated over medium heat, melt the butter until it is liquid and begins to bubble. Crack the egg into a small shallow bowl (this prevents a piece of eggshell from getting into your sandwich). Don’t worry if you break the yolk, we’re going to do that pretty soon anyway. Now, pour the egg into the butter in the pan. We’re using medium heat so it may not sizzle or start turning white right away, that’s okay. Using a lid on your pan (or even a lid that is too small for the pan but is bigger than the egg) place an ice cube next to the egg and cover with the lid. The ice will melt and cause steam to help cook the egg on top. If you like you can put your bread in the toaster. Otherwise, you can take a minute to slice your cheese at this point. The egg is cooking – it needs to sit there for a minute. When a minute has passed, lift the lid being careful of the steam and put salt and pepper on your egg (if that’s the way you like it).
Now here’s the part you thought would be tricky but we’re going to do it the easy way. Flipping an egg, especially a fried egg that you want to look all pretty can be scary. But we’re going to take the scary part out. Break the yolk with your turner first. Yep, just go ahead and stick the corner of that tool right into the yellow part so it spills all over the place. NOW we’re going to flip the egg. Slide the turner under the egg (the head of the turner should be about the size of your egg or piece of bread) and turn it over. This is a great example of using the right tool for the job. You don’t want a tiny turner because it won’t pick up the whole egg, it will slide off. You don’t want a metal turner if you are using a non-stick pan because you could scratch the pan and ruin the coating. But if you’re using a non-coated or stainless-steel pan, you are going to need a metal turner… every job has an appropriate tool. You can’t screw a bolt with a hammer and you shouldn’t drive nails with a screwdriver. You just gotta use the right tool and it makes the job quicker and easier.
So, now you can turn off the burner. The heat of the pan and the burner will do the rest of the cooking. Your bread is ready, it’s okay to go ahead and put the cheese on top of the egg now and if you want the cheese all melty and gooey, then use the lid again or even another ice cube.
I grew up eating fried egg sandwiches with a certain (ahem) odd combination of condiments. I don’t know where the idea came from, but Mom did it that way so that’s how I got used to doing it too. You may like it or maybe not. But I still think it’s good. Here we go… mustard, ketchup and pickle relish. Yep, just like a cheeseburger. You can give it a try and let me know or tell me what your favorite spread or topping is for this sandwich.
If you read the recipe and followed the directions and achieved a sandwich – You are now a cook!