2017-12-01 / Commentary

Processing Life

I’m just saying...
Julia Rogers Hook

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I realized again you can indeed learn something new every day!

I am not much of a cook and definitely not a Southern one. I lived in California for almost 30 years, and out there we don’t “fry” a lot.

I can bake a chicken or a pork chop or broil a steak, and I’m magic with steaming vegetables, but this southern frying thing completely eludes me. That’s unfortunate for my husband Marty who adores fried foods, but he knew that about me before he married me.

If you’ve been reading my columns, you may remember I recently tried out a new way to cook one of the few dishes I can do, a macaroni and cheese casserole. I was making them a few weeks back for a church function and my next-door-neighbor Louise, who is a bonafide caterer and a magnificent chef, showed me how to make my casserole with a creamy cheese sauce which was absolutely delicious. And the fact I could do it was a miracle right up there with the loaves and fishes that Jesus fed the multitudes with!

At any rate, this macaroni cheese sauce calls for cheese grated from the block and not the bagged grated cheese. When Louise walked into my kitchen the first time I was trying it, she was appalled to see me standing in front of a huge pile of block cheese and using my hand grater.

“What are you doing with that thing?” She was a little befuddled.

“I’m grating CHEESE for the casserole Louise!” It was kind of obvious.

“Don’t you have a food processor?” Louise asked me.

“Um…I dunno,” I replied. “What does it look like?”

“You’re going to be here all day,” she said while gathering up my cheese blocks and taking them to her house.

I wasn’t sure where she was taking my cheese or what she was going to do with it, but she came back ten minutes later with a HUGE bowl of grated cheese and not a block in sight.

“How on earth did you DO that so FAST?” I stammered.

“With MY food processor,” she told me. “You might consider getting one yourself.”

Well as rarely as I cook, I more or less dismissed the idea of a food processor altogether at first. And besides, for all I knew we may have gotten one as a wedding gift or there could be one somewhere in the kitchen.

But I was in charge of macaroni and the dressing for Thanksgiving, and we were expecting about 20 to 25 people so I needed a big pan of both.

For my dressing, I need chopped celery and onions and in the past I have always stood up with my trusty chopping knife and cut everything by hand. I can’t count the tears I’ve shed while slicing onion after onion, and you can’t imagine how tired you can get chopping stalks and stalks of celery by hand.

And according to Louise, this little gadget could get it all done pronto, so I decided to give it a whirl! I asked Louise to borrow her food processor, and she said of course. She brought it over and showed me how to use it.

I have to say…that thing is GENIUS! I was totally astounded! Now I’ll be the first to admit my kitchen tools knowledge is not the best, and I don’t really have very many of those nifty appliances but this? This was yet another miracle back in the “loaves and fishes” category!

You put a hunk of cheese in the thing, press a button and BOOM! You’ve got grated cheese! Tons of it! And the vegetables? Oh sweet heaven! I had enough chopped onions with the flip of a switch for all the dressing I’d ever want to make!

I was so gleeful I was actually hopping around in a happy dance! I was belting out Christmas carols and it wasn’t even Thanksgiving yet! I hollered for Marty to come to the kitchen.

“Honey! Watch THIS….” I was thrilled to show my man my newest discovery! I stuck in an onion and hit the “on” button. In mere seconds, I had a plate of diced onion!

“Is that AWESOME or WHAT?” I happily squealed, grabbing another onion.

“That IS awesome baby! Do it again!” Marty was enjoying this as much as I was.

So, there we were…my husband and I…the night before Thanksgiving, sitting there watching a food processor chop up cheese and veggies and laughing and yelping as the slices were spit out. We were almost sad when everything was over…it was like the ending of a great movie or finishing a book you loved…you just wanted more.

I am now convinced I need my very own food processor, and I happen to know where there’s a sale. I can’t wait to tell Marty we’ll soon have one all the time. Never again will we complain nothing is on television!

From now on…chopped veggies will be a staple on our menu. Imagine all the fun we’ll have making them!

One thing is for sure about Marty and me…we KNOW how to have a good time!

I’m just saying…

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