Adventures in Cooking

In Boston, none of my friends cooked – so I never cooked. However, in Pittsburgh, everyone I know cooks dinner for themselves at home. I suspect this is less an factor of there being no good eating (although I do miss Boston’s Italian food), and more a factor of design-minded folks having more cooking ability than the typical software engineer. So, when in Rome….

My attempts at cooking has been coming along decently, slowly but surely. I’ve moved from pure pastas, to pastas with sauces, to various attempts at meat and vegetables, mostly using the skillet in various simple ways. Soon maybe I’ll even go crazy and try to combine food groups! That said, it’s had it’s ups and downs. In an attempt to up the ante, I decided to celebrate the end of my first week of classes by cooking myself a steak. Somewhat embarrassingly, this is the first time I’ve ever cooked a steak – and it was a big one at that, a full pound T-bone. To make matters worse, I don’t have a grill – so I found myself balancing this giant steak on my spatula in a vain attempt to pan-fry it. After 6-12 minutes of flipping and minor oil burns on my hands left the meat still bleeding, I panicked and tossed the thing into the convection oven for a few minutes to finish the job. It was surprisingly edible – the only minor problem was dryness, which was fixable with some steak sauce – but don’t expect a cooking blog from me any time soon.

While I’m on the topic of cooking, I’ll give you another reason not to trust any food I make. The other day the MTID advisor invited the entire lab to his house for a potluck dinner. I decided I’d be cute and attempt to make my girlfriend’s cookie recipe. (Conveniently, my girlfriend’s cookie recipe is also the recipe on the back of every package of Nestle’s Milk Chocolate Morsels.) After about 2 hours buying ingredients, beating eggs, and awkwardly standing by and peering into my oven, I presented my roommate with a pile of 50 cookies. He took one off the top, and declared that they tasted pretty good. Success! Or so I thought. Relieved, we sat down and decided to help ourselves to some of the broken cookies that were unfit for serving. Eventually, I get to the last cookie on the plate, and take a bite…and ow! I feel something sharp and pointy. I chew down again, and I can’t break this thing…so I take it out of my mouth, and it’s a small bit of plastic. I check all of my supplies and equipment, and it turns out my handheld beater literally chipped a small number of pieces of plastic into my batter. At this point, it’s 1AM, and I had used all of my chocolate chips – so my choices were either go out and buy more ingredients, serve the cookies without telling anybody, or just keep them around my house for (careful) personal consumption. Well, it turns out you *can* trust at least the cookies I serve you – because I decided to keep them around for myself. If I die unexpectedly of a plastic shard ripping my insides, please point the proper authorities to the blog for cause of death. :)

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