Brown Rice and Pickle Juice

February 25, 2010

The Leader at Bunny’s Weight Watchers meeting talks a lot about mixing foods. Adding healthy but filling foods to meals and snacks, to fill you up and avoid bored taste buds and slipping motivation.

A great idea.

One problem.

Bunny has no idea what to mix with what.

Bunny is no cook. She manages (somehow) to feed 30 people Thanksgiving dinner, and so far no one has been poisoned, but it takes her 4 weeks to get ready and 2 weeks to recover.

Bunny has no natural cooking ability, and never really had any guidance. Her Mom only cooked on Christmas. Her Dad did the day-to-day cooking, but he’s no Julia Child either, and his primary base ingredient was pickle juice.

Seriously. Pickle juice.

Any wonder Bunny finds herself in this dietary, well, pickle?

Cooking for Buff has done nothing to improve her skills. He likes everything plain-plain-plain (seasoning? ugh!), and has a penchant for eating one of three boring microwaved meals every night. Plain hamburger patties on the George Foreman Grill. Chicken breast microwaved in tomato sauce, no seasoning please. Once and a while he’ll go wild and have spaghetti (pasta and ground beef topped with plain tomato sauce). Oh, and he almost always starts off with a bowl full of sliced cucumbers with…you guessed it…pickles.

What is it with these men and their pickles?

OK, Bunny, this isn’t so hard. Mix some broccoli with a Lean Cuisine. Sounds like a no-brainer, but does she cook the broccoli first or mix it with the Lean Cuisine and then cook them together? She’s not sure.

See what we’re up against?

Weight Watchers suggests making a vegetable soup using filling foods.  She tried it once. It was nasty. She’s sure she did it wrong. (Anybody have a new one that won’t make her want to feed it to her worst enemy?)

Chicken broth seems like a nice, helpful food. Bunny got ambitious one day and baked chicken in chicken broth, with a few mushrooms tossed in. She sprinkled in some poultry seasoning she had left over from Thanksgiving, and threw in some fresh garlic cloves. Sounds yummy, right?

It was pretty bad.

Next time, she browned garlic in olive oil. When she added the chicken, the pan sizzled and spat grease all over the stove and the kitchen filled with smoke. Deciding she needed liquid, and fast, she tossed in some chicken broth, covered it and turned it down to low. It seemed to be cooking calmly, so she tossed in some mushrooms and let it do its thing. When she came back,  the broth had evaporated, the chicken was stuck to the pan, it smelled otherworldly, and the chicken tasted oily, singed, and not much like chicken.

Again…not pretty.

And what about brown rice? Bunny has a package of brown rice in her cupboard, but doesn’t know what to do with it. She can follow the directions, but she still doesn’t really know what to do. What does she eat it with? Is she supposed to season it or mix it with something? Why isn’t it more clear? Are people supposed to be born with this knowledge? Is Bunny the only idiot on the planet?

As we said, Bunny is no cook. It’s so much easier to nuke a Lean Cuisine than to cook. Not very satisfying, and not good in terms of variety or long-term motivation, but easier.

And then there’s herbs. Herbs confuse her tremendously. Bunny is never sure about them. Are the stalks they sell in the market the same as those chopped up things in the little glass jars? Does she need to grow her own? What about that 3-pound vat of dried oregano they sell at Costco? Why is it dry? Does she need to do something to it to make it un-dry? Do you do something different with dry herbs than you do with the ones you grow yourself? What happens if she grows herbs in her kitchen window and her cat eats it?

Nobody tells you this stuff, or puts it on the back of the box, because everybody assumes that any moron knows what to do.

This one doesn’t.

Bunny would love to be able to toss this into that and whip up a delightful and healthy concoction to tantalize her taste buds, but she has been discouraged by her past efforts to combine and cook and create. Discouraged because her concoctions usually taste as bad as the word “concoctions” sounds.

Bunny’s idea of combining foods is spooning cottage cheese onto some grape tomatoes and adding half a handful of Kashi Go Lean Cereal. (And yes, she uses the real cottage cheese. Not the low-fat. The yellow container. You know the one. She doesn’t care if it’s more points. Some things are simply not negotiable, and that’s right there on her list with full-fat bleu cheese dressing.)

Do you have any ideas for simple recipes that are easy to prepare that don’t require any fancy seasonings or special pans or complex instructions or any kind of decision-making whatsoever, that can be done quickly and simply, and don’t involve fish or beans or veal or nasty internal organs or anything that smells bad while it cooks (Buff has a very sensitive nose)?

Did we mention that it needs to be simple?

Really simple.

Like…your cat could make it.

THAT simple.

Let us know.

One Response to “Brown Rice and Pickle Juice”

  1. […] We’ve discussed her struggles with preparing even the simplest chicken dishes. […]

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