Sunday, September 23, 2007


What a word...

The base word, intimidate, is something that some people have accused me of throughout my life. I know, I're thinking, "Cindi?? Intimidate people??? NEVER! Not her!"

Yeah, well I agree with you. I would never intimidate anyone, at least not intentionally (this is where I flash that really innocent grin)

Anyway, let me get to the point. Ted and I have two particular sets of friends that can reduce me to absolutely NOTHING in an evening we spend with either couple. The women of these two sets of friends intimidate me.

There, I've said it.

I know they don't mean to do it, but it happens. They're both very kind people and would never do anything to intentionally hurt someone's feelings. But I always end the evenings that we spend with either couple,, less of a person.

Why, you might ask??

They both cook. They both cook well. Heck, they're both fabulous cooks.

Last night we spent the evening with Melanie and Dave. We had a very nice time, but once again, I left there feeling inadequate in the kitchen department.

It's important to note here that Dave helps Melanie in the kitchen quite a bit, and I think that's wonderful. She said last night that he does all the chopping of ingredients that need chopped. That would be a huge help!

We started off with an appetizer...they fixed bruschetta. It was FABULOUS! Melanie knows that there are certain things that I don't like and that my tastes don't really go along with my Italian heritage. I don't like onions and am not really too crazy about garlic. I also don't like anything spicy. This bruschetta was PERFECT! There was garlic involved, but it blended in so well that I couldn't pick out the specific garlic taste. I know that there are a million different kinds of bruschetta, but this recipe had things that I actually like, so that was terrific.

The entree for dinner was stuffed manicotti with vodka sauce. When she first said this, I was thinking, "Vodka sauce? You can make sauce with vodka? Hmmm..."

Well, it was fantastic, to say the least! You couldn't taste the actual vodka, but I think that's what contributed to the sweetness of the sauce. It was absolutely perfect!

What made everything taste even better was the fact that they grow tomatoes and herbs in their garden, so everything was so fresh.

Melanie knows that I'm a little bit of a picky eater (yeah, like who could tell??) so I always ask what is in the stuff she makes. She was very hesitant when I asked her about the manicotti, and then laughed a little before she answered. I knew then, that there was some onion in it, but you really couldn't taste it at all. I was so impressed!

For dessert, she really outdid herself....she made Panettone Trifle and it was just out of this world! Of course by this time I was so stuffed that I couldn't quite finish it and Ted came to the rescue. It had this chocolate sauce over it....that was so rich and wonderful tasting.

And now you know WHY I am so intimidated after eating dinner at their house!

I can make a mean roast beef, or even chicken, or chili, but beyond the basics, I just don't have it. I tend to go with simple things that are tried and true. I'm just not brave enough to step out of my comfort zone when it comes to cooking. And every single time we leave Melanie and Dave's I swear that I'm going to try to do some more challenging things in the kitchen. And within a few days I've either forgotten about it or decided that it's too much work!

Our other friends, Kathy and Jim, are the same way. Jim helps a little, but Kathy does most of the work. She is another TERRIFIC cook. She can make something as simple as a hamburger taste like it came out of a top notch five star restaurant!

Where did I go wrong in the cooking department?


Anonymous said...

Cindi, my husband helps with the meals too, it's called picking up the check :o). I used to be intimidated in the cooking department too until I had the revelation that the economy would just go to hell if I didn't support all the wonderful restaurants there are out there. The best thing I do for my kitchen is collect recipes. With the four kids I had to learn to cook in bulk not quality. :o) Ter

melanie said...

Well...I'm speechless!! lol
Who was the one that shared her grandmother's spaghetti sauce and meatball recipe along with the lasagna recipe. Who came to my house the first time I made these recipes to help me out!! Your a wonderful cook! I am happy that you enjoyed your meal at our house and of course you know I am not trying to Intimidate you...just wanting to have a good meal we can enjoy together! :)