Not all cooking is meditative and beautiful, no matter what Chef's Table may suggest. It's often rushed, made in the not-yet-dissipated cloud of workday stress and commuting traffic anger.
But many people do have at least one meal—often only that one—in their arsenal that provides an oasis to it all.
It's a dish they always come back to, as much to enjoy the process of putting it together as enjoying its taste at the end. Or it could be the trusty choice on account of its function: a reliable, delicious plate that manages to impress every time.
And even better than knowing those recipes are somewhere out there is having access to a whole slew of them.
Elizathefirst asked, "What do you love to cook?"
"I love making things with dough. Pasta, noodles, baozi, breads and pizza... I find it greatly soothing watching yeast do it's hard work and imagining magical sparks as enzymes get going and gluten develops; as well as a great treat at the end."
"My family disagrees with me that the dough is part of the reward, but I know."
Checks All the Boxes
"The perfect steakhouse meal: New York strip steaks, grilled to medium-rare, with pan-seared mushrooms and a side of garlic mashed potatoes."
"And if I really like you, or if the group is a little larger, needing to spread the side dishes a bit more, add oven-roasted asparagus and oven-roasted Brussels sprouts."
Key Ingredient: “Wooden Hammer Thing”
"There's this thing my girlfriend taught me how to cook. A Texas BBQ escalope is what she calls it and it's delicious. It's a chicken breast sliced open, tenderized with this wooden hammer thing and laid out flat."
"You Get 2 bowls, one with egg yoke and the other with breadcrumbs, cover the chicken breast in the yoke and then roll it in the breadcrumb bowl so that the breadcrumbs stick to it and then stick it in the oven for a bit, just long enough to get it cooked to the point that the breadcrumbs are going to stay on the chicken properly."
"Then you take it out, pop it in the frying pan until one side is fully cooked. Then you take it out and use a knife to spread BBQ sauce over the cooked side and sprinkle some cheese on it. Pop it back in the frying pan until the other side is cooked. The cheese melts in the process."
"It's bloody delicious."
A Divine Mac
"There's a Slovak dish called Halušky, which is kind of like eating Mac n Cheese, if Mac n Cheese was made by the God of Flavortown. It's pretty simple to make, only requires potatoes, flour (traditionally an egg, but not required), onion, bacon, and cheese." -- bjornnsky
"I'm like 99% sure Guy Fieri has made mac n cheese." -- stormzerino
A Historic Taste
"There is this crazy dish that I cook maybe once every five years. It's an insanely complicated recipe from the 1700s that starts with boning an entire chicken without cutting it into pieces - you cut it open along the spine and then bone out from there while keeping the whole chicken intact. You stuff it with layers of forcemeat, truffles, and nuts, sew it shut, and cook it."
"Sometimes I just really want to cook something ridiculous, and this dish always scratches that itch. It's an all-day, lose-yourself-in-your-cooking task."
Dinner for Breakfast
"Shrimp fried rice, specifically for breakfast. I make extra rice and extra stir fried veggies just so I'll have leftovers to make fried rice with. There's a grocery near me that carries bags of frozen 'salad' shrimp. Rice, veg, shrimp, egg, soy, toasted sesame: breakfast!" -- Flahdagal
"You're telling me a shrimp fried this rice? Yeah okay." -- therealAndrewLingo
"Large scallops and angel hair pasta, its soo flipping easy to make, and scallops are fantastic for me right now since I just had a gallbladder removal surgery and need to be on a low fat diet. I highly recommend trying your hand at scallops and pairing it with any pasta or veggies!" -- zombiamante
"Scallops - the ocean's most perfect food. Preferably seared on hot cast iron." -- acjgoblu
Sensing a Theme Here
"I make a mean nontraditional Irish stew with beef, carrots, potatoes, celery, onions, and a bottle of Heineken. (Tried Guinness once but it was too bitter)."
"It takes a while to make but it is always so worth it and my family really seem to like it so it makes me happy that I can give them good food they genuinely enjoy."
"Bonus: I also love making my coffee/chocolate Bailey's Irish Cream cake."
Meat, Best as a Sphere
"Meatballs. Any and all kinds. Jerk pork meatballs with red pepper gravy, Asian meatballs, lamb meatballs with tzatziki sauce, next is a thanksgiving meatball with cranberry." -- FoodTruckFiletMignon
"Same, I have no recipe and make them a bit different each time, sometime moore cheesy, or more onion, chili, hint of curry, almost anything will work in a meatball. No matter how many I make they are gone same day." -- OldMork
For Winning at Parties
"Not exactly cooking, but I do like to make marshmallows. They're relatively easy, taste great(marshmallows are my favorite candy and homemade ones are way better than the ones you buy), and they're pretty impressive, because people don't really know how they're made. It's also super easy to mess around with flavors."
"Basically, you make a sugar syrup and then whip it a lot with some gelatin. There are tons of recipes online, if you want to make them." -- Llama-en-llama
"I made marshmallows for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I was so impressed with myself and I shamelessly told everybody about it." -- themamajo
Simple, but Beloved
"Chocolate Chip Cookies. Nothing can beat just making Chocolate Chip Cookies." -- 121mc555
"Eating them beats it." -- ZLUCremisi
"I've been driving myself crazy trying to recreate the Famous Amos recipe. Every single 'copycat' I try ends up too pale (even using 100% dark brown sugar) and not deep in flavour enough."
"Also, with the lockdown, I can't share the delicious failures with friends and coworkers." -- _antelopenoises
"Pasta. So many things you can do with it. Toss is with some sauce, toss it with some pesto, toss it at your kids, the opportunities are endless." -- Herogamer555
"The worst part is waiting forever to get the water to boil if you are making a big amount." -- Cowboy_Spongebob
" 'Dad, I'm hungry.' smack." -- poopellar
A Good Friend to Have Around...
"I love baking cakes." -- [deleted]
"Same, I just don't do decorating. I'm not wasting time on something like that." -- MosquitoRevenge
"Oooo! We could be friends! I like to decorate and hate wasting the time baking the cake." -- YouKnowHowIBe
An Impressive Choice
"There are a lot of things I like to cook but candy is one I really enjoy. I make Almond Roca, and a peanut butter cup to die for." -- StalwartExplorer
"I want to be friends with you. Two of my most favorite candies! Is the process hard? I've always wanted to try my hand at candy making. I'm not a good baker bc I hate to follow directions, I wonder if candy making would be better for me." -- counterspell
Keep It Movin'
"I love to cook soups in the fall and winter. Creamy tomato bail parmesan, vegetable, Asiago bisque, and if you count it as a soup, chili."
"In the summer and early/mid fall, I really live to work the grill. Chicken, steak, corn, vegetable and meat kabobs, and sometimes I will smoke a brisket."
"Year round I enjoy making homemade pizza. I hope to have a wood fired oven one day."
"Borscht soup (sour soup)."
"It's a very healthy dish and the only thing my husband taught me to cook that actually stuck with me."
"..I cook it when I'm missing him."
Some Pleasant Monotony
"Stuffed grape leaves! My Egyptian mother in law taught me how to make them, and I'm so grateful. Filling them and rolling them up is so relaxing, and they're so delicious." -- sentient-cookie
"If you like doing that, may I recommend making gołąbki too? It's a similar process but a different culture's but still really relaxing and tasty." -- deekochana
A Spin on the OG Pancake
"Buckwheat salty pancakes. It's a traditional dish from Brittany, France. You mix an egg, 300g buckwheat flour and water. Make large and thin pancakes. Fry the pancakes in butter, put cheese, an egg and some ham on it while is frying and close it."
"It's bloody delicious. You can put anything you want in it, cheese+egg+ham is just the classic combination."
Do you have something to confess to George? Text "Secrets" or "" to +1 (310) 299-9390 to talk to him about it.
Sometimes you just don't have any money and you have to make it work. I learned how to make the most out of bargains at the grocery store and know how to make food that is hearty and will last more than a day or two. Beans and rice are your friends, by the way. You'd be surprised by how many delicious meals you can make with just these two basic ingredients.
Being poor requires you to be creative.
Penny pinching is an art, as we were so deftly reminded after Redditor naranja_cheese asked the online community,
"What is the most penny pinching you've ever done?"
"I used to steal..."
"I used to steal half-used rolls of tp when I was a janitor. Lived off white rice and Worcestershire sauce for months. Got a job as a cook & always saved a few scraps while plating people's food so I would have something to eat without paying for a meal. Also worked at a butcher shop& would take home bones to roast and make a stew with. I can share hundreds of things like this."
"I worked part-time..."
"I worked part-time in school, but was pretty broke. I wasn't being paid until the following day, and I needed soy sauce for my extra super tasty stir fry. I literally had negative funds in my account. So I went to the grocery store, grabbed a sushi tray, threw a ton of packets of soy sauce in my pocket (they don't charge you for these), wandered a bit, pretended I changed my mind, and left."
"While at the grocery store..."
"While at the grocery store, putting back that pack of chicken breast that cost $2.98 for the other pack of chicken breast that cost $2.95."
"Things were insanely tight..."
"Used to make my own laundry detergent during a time when we had relocated and our prior home had not sold so we had rent on top of a mortgage for 18 months. Things were insanely tight in those days, to say the least."
I definitely know what this is like.
"I took some cedar boards..."
"I had no money for Christmas gifts. I only had enough to pay rent. I took some cedar boards in the backyard, cut them, burnt them a little black as I had no money to finish them. Then I passed them off as cutting boards."
"One Friday night..."
"One Friday night in college, my two buddies and I had a grand total of $3 to our names. I bought a box of Mac 'n Cheese, a can(!) of escargot, and three Lil' Debbie Star Crunches. We had a full meal with starch, protein, and dessert."
"I lived on pasta..."
"When I was at university my entire budget was less than £40 a week. I lived on pasta and stolen sauce packets from the Students Union. The cafeteria ladies would always take pity on me at closing time and give me free burgers."
"I lost my job..."
"I lost my job and lived in a $1400/month apartment where electricity (which included heat) and internet were ludicrously expensive. $400-450 a month in the winter because the building was an old mill with huge windows and no insulation. Fortunately, gas and water were free."
"I only turned on my lights when I had to, turned off the heat entirely, and heated my apartment by boiling a huge pot of water on the gas stove 24 hours a day and going to the business center to use the free DSL connection to apply for jobs. I ate rice with frozen vegetables and spices for three months."
"It sucked, but I got by."
Hopefully things are much better now.
"If I ate fast food..."
"If I ate fast food or takeout food, I would ask for extra sauce packets or garnishes that they give out for free. I would stock up on them, use them when I cook instead of buying the stuff from the store. For example, a $1 box of pasta, a clove of garlic, and 2-3 ramekins of parm cheese, half ramekin of chili flakes, and a pinch of Italian herbs I got from a pizza place makes a quick meal."
"My local mall..."
"My local mall used to do paid surveys, you'd watch a video or try some new soda or whatever and they'd give you a couple of dollars. Then I'd use that to buy a meal."
Sometimes you've just gotta do what you've gotta do. It's not easy.
Have some stories of your own? Feel free to tell us about them in the comments below!
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Now, this isn't going to be a long, "Let's all pile on how bad the internet is and only think about the good ol' days when the rocks were soft and we could only communicate using cans with string."
People old enough to remember life pre-Internet, what are some less obvious things you miss about that time?
Many habits we used to possess were made completely irrelevant thanks to the internet. Not that we didn't enjoy doing them, we just started asking ourselves, "What's the point?"
Completely Devoid Of Technological Interference
"Leaving home and just being gone for the day. No cell phones. If there were cameras, it was really different. You used them to take pictures of things or had people take pictures of you. But there was no social media to preoccupy your mind. It was just doing something. And whoever you were with, was who you were with."
No One Needs 24 Hours Of Nonsense
"News only being on at 6pm. That was it. Now we have 6 hours of local news and 24 hours of cable news. Not being bombarded all day with "news." And when you saw "Breaking News" on the screen you knew something serious went down."
You Mean We Actually Have To Go?
"It used to be a lot harder to bail on things. You'd have to call the person at home and tell them yourself, or at least leave a message if you wanted to be risky. Typically if you were gonna bail you'd give at least 24 hours notice. Nowadays people can let you know they're bailing last second since you're always reachable."
"RSVPing mattered. If you said you were going to be there, you made sure to be there. None of this facebook invites that everyone blows off without any form of social repercussions. If you said you were going to go and didn't go, you were the a--hole and everyone knew it."
You can get almost anything on the internet. Almost. Still no sign of real working Lightsabers anywhere out there, but the internet has eliminated many of our purchasing practices.
Just In Time For The Holidays!
"The Sears catalog. That was how I found out about all the cool new toys."
"Catalogs in general, for me. Before the internet made mindless browsing of stuff you didn't need ~really~ easy to do, we still liked doing this without having to drive to the mall. The solution? Sign your mom up for those cool seed catalogs, those not safe to browse at the office gag gift catalogs and then everything in between. That stuff was really nice to have when you grew up somewhere that was not even cable ready."
1 Good Song Out Of 15
"When you bought new music you just had to hope it was good. The single might be popular but otherwise unless someone had it you just bought it and hoped for the best."
"There was so much excitement to going to a cd store to buy an album that you only knew one song of or the band/artist name and just listening to that entire cd over and over again picking out which tracks were your favorite while still learning every lyric to all the songs on the album.
Building a cd collection was also fun."
Talk About The "Immediate Gratification" Generation, Huh?
"The instant win bottle caps / candy / chocolate bar wrappers where you could turn them back into the store and immediately get a free one. Now it's just codes you have to register on their website so they can get your info, i don't even bother anymore."
Finally, there's these activities, to difficult to explain to anyone who wasn't there. How do you get someone to understand that not having a supercomputer in your pocket at all hours of the day radically changed your life?
Keeping It In Front Of You
"I miss having an attention span of more than three seconds"
"It's so weird. I can only vaguely remember what it feels like to not have a smartphone and to be alone and think.
Wondering what my friends are doing and if they'd like to do something on the weekend. We'd have to talk during lunch break at school and plan it...
Trying to find the answer to a math problem... Having to figure it out by re-reading the problem and explanations 5 times."
There Used To Be A Time When You Couldn't Play Everything
"Not being overwhelmed by choice.
Don't get me wrong, having nearly every form of media downloadable is great, but back in the day, i rented a video game and i played that video game as much as i could.
Now, its hard to give it more than 2 seconds before i try one of the 20,000 games i have access to.
New game plus used to be cool. Now, I'm happy if just beat the game"
Floundering. Just A Little.
"My formative years were the 1980s. I remember like yesterday going to study in Paris my junior year of college. I got off the plane with no cell phone, no internet, a Let's Go Paris book, and just a hostel address written on a piece of paper I'd stuck in a French dictionary. I did not know a single person in all of France.
I had $500 of cash stuck in a money belt. The belt was tight and sweaty but that money had to last me for at least a month until I could find a part-time job with my lousy French. My "credit card" was my father's credit card numbers written down on a piece of paper. He told me I could only use it to buy a plane ticket home in an emergency.
I remember standing in the airport and having this powerful emotion of being 21 years old, scared sh-tless, but in absolutely completely control of my own destiny. There was absolutely nobody who could come rushing to my aid if I needed it. I was 100% on my own.
I'm actually very thankful for that experience. I found the hostel. I found a job. I made friends. I learned French. I made it all on my own which was just a big boost in life confidence.
I have no doubt if I'd had a cell phone I would've called my parents on Day 2, told them it was too hard, and been on the next plane home. But I had no other choice but to succeed."
We can never go back. Not really, anyway. The only way is to keep going forward, be aware of the effect the internet has on us, and do our best to not let it take away the things that really matter in our lives.
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Look, unless you enjoy cooking, no one likes spending time in the kitchen longer than they have to in order to whip up something mediocre to eat.
Ordering food or, for the time being, enjoying a socially distanced lunch at an establishment is convenient, but it can take a toll on your wallet.
So what options are there?
Fortunately, there are plenty of them that do not involve nuking a frozen entree.
"What's your go-to under 5 minute meal?"
These dinner selections are super sufficient.
A Loaded Course
"Two hotdogs and a side of judgement from my fiancé"
In Case You Didn't Know
"Quesadilla. super quick and easy to make and there's a ton of ingredients that you can add without much effort that will make it even better."
"Ramen and an egg, but not the traditional way."
- "Boil roughly half an inch of water (we want just enough water to boil the noodles, with very little water left over when it's done boiling)."
- "Smash up the ramen noodles, while still in the package (optional but cooks MUCH faster)."
- "Open the package and remove the seasoning."
- "Dump the noodles in."
- "While boiling, crack an egg and whisk in a small bowl."
- "Noodles should be done and almost all the water should be gone, if not strain out some.
- Remove from the heat."
- "Slowly pour in the egg while mixing very quickly, try not to let the egg touch the pan."
- "Mix as much of the seasoning packet as you like (I prefer 1/2 - 3/4 because I usually add a salty component at the end.)"
- "Add to bowl and top with some chives, thinly sliced, ripped up ham/salami and/or parsley. Leftover bacon or pancetta are fantastic crunchy components to dial up the texture."
"Easy, fast and checks so many of the 'munchie' boxes for me."
Don't Underestimate Soups
"Tomato soup and add tortellini. I like the spinach ones from Trader Joe's and Progreso creamy tomato with basil. It's bomb and it really makes a decent meal."
For people in a rush, these tasty snacks would suffice.
Goes Well With Veggies And Cheese
"Hummus is such an underrated food. It goes well with a lot of veggies and breads and chips or heck even cheese. All the time I hear hummus being listed as one of those weird, gross foods when its actually an amazing snack, or a meal if done correctly. It's not really unhealthy, either, especially if eaten with veggies (celery and carrots go great with hummus)."
Ready In Seconds
"All I do is get a paper towel, and put 5 Oreos on it."
"Then go back and get the whole package."
Peanut Butter Fantasies
"Peanut butter sandwich."
"If I'm feeling extra froggy I'll add nutella to the peanut butter and honey sandwich and put it in the microwave for 30 seconds. Goes down about as well as a popeye's biscuit though."
"It's like cheating the system. You eat sweets and call it healthy."
Start your day without all the hassle of a fancy breakfast.
Put It In A Bowl
"Oatmeal or cereal."
"Cereal is definitely underrated as a meal outside of the breakfast dynamic."
"A very simple recipe my grandma prepared for me when i was a kid."
"It's basically scrambled eggs...but before adding the egg she would cook sweetcorn (from a can) with a little bit of butter, add the eggs and then when the eggs were almost ready, add small cubes of cheese and cook for a minute or until the cheese start to melt (she was using fontal, but any swiss or white cheddar will do). Just a little black pepper and salt."
"Takes 5 minutes to do but it's absolutely delicious, fill you up, not so unhealthy and I feel my late grandma with me."
'I tried variations with chives or spring onions, paprika or other stuff. Still good but nothing as good as a simple "uova strapazzate con mais e formaggio.'"
I consider yogurt a healthy snack/lunch option.
I like having a bowl of non-fat plain Greek yogurt with raspberries, blueberries, sprinkled with granola and drizzled with honey.
It's packed with nutrients and gives me a nice boost of energy.
Yogurt also makes for a perfect chip dip. I sprinkle some onion soup mix and stir in the mixture. Who knew quick and easy food prep could be so delicious?
We all like to assume that a big old scar has an amazing, hardcore story behind it: maybe a valiant fight or some life threatening-escape.
But despite what Hollywood would have us think, that is so rarely the case.
Usually, some kind of bizarre accident leaves us with the biggest scar of our life. There's no action movie story behind it, just a careful mixture of foolishness and bad luck.
Clearly not put off by some gruesome anecdotes, Redditor fluffybear45 asked:
"People with scars, how did you get them?"
For many, it was the wild antics of childhood that left them slightly maimed. With many years now separating the Redditor from the event, these were pretty hilarious.
Out of Nowhere!
"I was playing on a swing and then my leg got stuck in barbed wire." -- Soviet_God-Emperor
"I feel like we missed a couple steps here, or your local park had some serious issues." -- Henfrid
"Yo that went from 0 to 100 real fast" -- IHaveButt
"2nd grade, defective slip-n-slide." -- AdmiralAkbar1
"I'm pretty sure the general design of the slip'n'slide was defective. Those stakes weren't covered originally, so you had to be straight down the middle of the slide or else....." -- Q-burt
"Could you refer to this incident in a gravely voice while staring into the middle distance, pausing only to shudder and sip your scotch?" -- CaptValentine
That's Why You Need an Axe Yard
"My dad hit me with an axe (bladed side) in the face. Stupid 10 yo me just had to look over his shoulder while he was hammering in herrings for our tent."
Others talked about freak accidents that came not from the stupidity of childhood, but the bad luck of mistakes made as an adult.
Bad Conditions for Practice
"Dad gave me a folding knife for Christmas"
"I read online that you could flick it open with one hand"
"So I practiced it, after my hands were greasy from eating a burger"
Take Your Pick
"Multiple long scars on my back are from falling onto a old soviet steel welcome mat ( i dont know how to describe it in english but its meant to wipe dirt of your shoes with triangle shaped steel beams."
"Medium sized one on my forearm is from a barbed wire fence, another one next to it is from a motorcycle accident and one on the base on my thumb is from a cars hood slipping and cutting me."
One Heck Of a Fall
" 'This one is from a skateboard, this one was a truck accident, and this one was a fire hydrant.' "
" 'Oh really? I bet each one has a very unique story.' "
" 'Not really, I skateboarded off of a truck into a fire hydrant.' "
Last, some people talked about the medical procedures that left them with the big gash. These stories had some ninth grade words and not nearly as much stupidity.
"A rare auto immune disorder called pyoderma gangrenosum twice... Don't google If you don't like gore... I had to have daily wound care and high doses of medical steroids"
"My intestines telescoped on themselves 8" scar on my belly." -- Anom8675309
"I never wanted to see the words 'intestines' and 'telescoped' together. Ouch." -- LadySygerrik
"I was born 2 months premature. I wasn't born with an esophagus so drs. cut my stomach open and used parts of my colon or intestines and created a new one for me. I have a huge scar on my neck and my stomach is one big scar. Also had a stomach feeding tube for quite a bit and heart surgery at 2 days old."
"I love science. I wouldn't have experienced life if it hadn't been for advances in medical science."
So if you've been sitting on an embarrassing backstory for one of your scars, feel free to share. You're hardly alone.
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