Friday, May 29, 2009

Shhh ... it's called a secret sauce because IT'S A SECRET!

I am a crappy cook.

Well, not really crappy. I am just a disinterested cook. I'm bored with the things we always make. I'd be just as happy to have a bowl of cereal for dinner as anything.

Part of the problem is that I USED to cook for the thundering hordes. A minimum of four kids (and, depending on the marriage and the time frame, as many as six) plus a spouse (or not) meant preparing meals in large quantities.

So when it was just a couple of kids, it seemed like too much trouble to go to. And now that, for the most part, it's only the Roo-girl, Wonderhubby and me every night, I completely lack enthusiasm for the whole ordeal.

But the Roo-girl feels the loss. In a fit of emotional incontinence over a dollars-for-chores argument, she vowed to make dinner three times a week.

The first effort was ... um ... edible. Pasta with red sauce and green beans. All of it served cold. (And have I ever told you how I feel about red sauce?)

But recently, we discovered something in our neighborhood that changes everything.

It's a place where you prep a meal with fresh ingredients, making all the sauces or whatever else. Then you take it home and pop it in the freezer for cooking later.

This? This is something that spoke to Roo -- IN. A. VERY. LOUD. VOICE.

We turned the experience into a mother-daughter bonding moment as we put together chicken yakitori, mango salmon, chicken with lemon and artichoke sauce and a very interesting lasagna (no red sauce!).

As part of the "experience," the place offers bottles of water or soda to its customers, so, of course, we imbibed. The diet Coke was just what the doctor ordered, while we covered lasagna noodles with a spinach and alfredo concoction.

Until I hit it with my elbow.

And it spilled all over the counter ... and into the shredded cheese.

Roo and I looked at each other in horror, and, while we scrambled to clean up our mess without anyone noticing, she glared at me.

"When you dish out the cheese, you better make sure you take the stuff in the back where you spilled," she hissed.

So we did.

And next week, when we serve up our lasagna, we two will be the only ones who know:

The secret is in the soda.


Jenni said...

I loathe red sauce and my whole family loves spaghetti with red sauce, lasagna with red sauce, manifrickincotti with red sauce, red sauce, red sauce. Jo begged for manicotti for her graduation party, so I made enough manicotti for the 50 people who could possibly show up or extra for the 35 who probably would. 15 people showed! (And it was a family party.) Danny and the kids were eating manicotti for a week (I found other things to eat), and there are two more pans in the freezer. I hope they are all as sick of the stuff as I am now. I would love to try that lasagna you described, but nooooo, they do not care much for cream sauces and the spinach would totally freak them out. I like some tomato based sauces that deviate from the standard, but they don't like me to mess with what they deem perfection. Can you tell I have a lot of built up resentment from all these years of red sauce?

nikki said...

A little diet coke makes everything better. Especially if you add a bit of rum.

Momisodes said...

There was a place similar to this near us before. It always sounded like fun and a huge time saver.

I love that you both kept it a secret. Soda is always great for a hidden filler.

Suzanne said...

I used to manage one of those meal preparation kitchens. :)

Love the diet coke lasagna idea!

justmylife said...

I have heard of wine in lasagna, but never diet coke. I bet they will never know!

The Duchess of Wessex said...

I hate red sauce too! Even at Arby's (where I haven't eaten in years now) I used to say, "Beef and Cheddar, hold the red sauce." I know it is their "Arby's sauce", but YUCK! And, red marinara is even worse. Hate it! Cannot stand it... Just another thing we have in common!

I recently saw a segment on Food Network about these Make and Take places and it looks fantastic! And, the fact that it provided you and Roo-Girl with a bonding opportunity is even Better!

I know what you mean about the whole cooking biz. I LOVE to cook and bake but it's NO fun when it's just for 2 or 3. Now that our youngest son is moving out (TODAY!) it'll just be the two of us. Lately, it's been a bagged salad and a baguette split between us. Sigh...

Kaytabug said...

I wonder if Jenni will come back and tell us how she REALLY feels!!

I forgot what you wrote after reading her guest post! (JK)

When you cook/serve it let us know how it tastes and what everyone else thought.

Debbie said...

How funny! I can just picture the two of you now.
And I know what you mean about cooking. There are just three of us home this weekend and I'm just not bothering.

Karen said...

OMG, a clutz-a-rama at the local make a meal place.

Janet said...

I hate cooking. But something like that sounds fun.

What will happen is that someone will actually get a bit that has the diet coke in it and will rave about how wonderful it is.

Jaina said...

That sounds like a lot of fun. I've heard of places like that :)

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