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The Wide Angle: Dabbling with the spatula

I took this past Tuesday off to sneak myself a three-day weekend — partly to relax and partly to get a few things adults need to do in order for their house to continue standing and to continue thriving as a real grown-up.

Despite the gossip one hears, I am said “grown-up.”

I used the time to finish some things inside the house, get some things prepared outside the house before the snow hit, this, that and that other thing that’s been collecting dust for months now.

I’ve never claimed to be overly good at cleaning and if you’ve stopped by the office to see me for some reason or another, then you’ve probably noticed exhibit A that is my desk.

One of the things I wanted to accomplish was some kitchen time, which also needed cleaning, but we’re not going to take this column to harp on my cleaning skills. Maybe next time.

Over the years I’ve realized that I like cooking. I’m no chef by any means, but I’m not going to poison you either. My presentation skills sometimes are lacking, but I’m a firm believer that food shouldn’t be presented as some pristine work of art. I feel guilty eating it,because the chef put so much time into making it look pretty and here I am ready to manhandle that work of art like a wrecking ball because I have all the grace of a hunk of granite with a fork — sometimes a spoon.

Cooking seems to be easier when you take away all this stuff. It takes away all of the stress of making my food look pretty.

So Tuesday morning I broke out the pans, spoons and spices and went to work.

I had a plan for four things on Tuesday that would be the menu for the day. That menu included: chili in the Crockpot, two pies (apple and blueberry) and pork tacos using leftover pork tenderloin from the night before. My cooking started around 8 a.m., but it could have started earlier I suppose, thanks to the furballs waking me up at around 5 a.m. because they are still adapting to daylight savings time.

However, I’m not a big proponent of doing anything at 5 in the morning. I can never get up and go jogging because A) it’s early and B) it’s 5 a.m. and C) it’s running. I realize two of those things are related to time, but I need to stress how much I hate doing things early.

I’m aware that these four things aren’t that complicated. It’s not like I’m pretending to be Gordan Ramsey here, though there is plenty of swearing. It’s just usually aimed at the food that didn’t come out the way I would have liked.

Swearing is my main kitchen utensil of choice a lot of the time.

There really isn’t anything to report after that sadly. Everything came out splendidly, which is not difficult considering you really have to make a concerted effort to screw up a Crockpot, the pie recipes are tried and true and it’s pork tacos. That is junior high school home economics stuff. We’ll just forget the time I made sugar bricks while trying to make cookies in said class. All I will say is that it wasn’t all my fault.

I was able to have an enjoyable morning of cooking without thought. It’s like gardening in a way. It takes a mind away from the day.

The only difference from the garden is I know what I’m doing with green things in the kitchen.