Kitchen Fail of the Week

Every week, it seems, I perpetrate some new kitchen catastrophe, and this week’s entry is my pork-chicken-rice-egg-noodle casserole.

during quiet hour, Fern made me a cat face out of various tiny bits of food.

She’s a way better cook.

What the hell was I thinking?

To be fair to myself, I was dead tired and not thinking that much, getting a cold and dealing with the kids’ late night persistent cough that just won’t end.

And I was following a recipe, and that recipe did actually say to add a can of chicken and rice soup to the browned pork and noodles in a casserole dish.

Ye gods! (By which I mean, Ye Food Network gods!) Why are there chunks of chicken and pork cohabitating in an unholy pasta-rice puddle?

To her credit, Working Mom’s appreciation of dinner appeared entirely sincere.

She was totally faking it.

My wife is from the Midwest, where casseroles (“hot dish,” they say) are a universal religion, and my effort was near blasphemy by their standards.

I love to cook, but to me that means a relaxing afternoon chopping vegetables and simmering stock, browning and broiling a nice roast, sipping wine and steaming veggies. Needless to say, that kind of time never materializes anymore.

Since meal planning is out, my brain just latches onto what it knows, without much thought for what makes a good combination. A couple of weeks ago I was putting dinner on plates before I realized that it was entirely beige: chicken breasts, cauliflower, rice. I almost mashed up some potatoes just to complete the picture.

So now the leftovers of my casserole taunt me from the fridge. “You think you know how to cook,” they say. “Well, look at this!”

I’m feeling defeated. Next week, I think, might have to be all-quesadilla week at Casa Doodaddy.