Simply Put, Food Is Too Complicated

I finally saw a cooking show with recipes even I can use. It was an inspiration because it gave me, a fry pan bungler, hope of attaining kitchen adequacy. The show explained how to cook eggs–boiling, scrambling and frying. While I thought I knew a lot from my years of frying experience (I now know that you can’t fry Popsicles.), the show was full of enlightening, practical advice.

The program, America’s Test Kitchen on PBS, wasn’t like other cooking programs that have far too many ingredients and two ovens stacked one atop the other. (For the kitchen impaired, the oven is the thing below the place where you fry things.) This show was full of helpful instruction that I put to use immediately. That’s the good news. The bad news is that I now feel guilty for watching but not sending money to PBS.

Despite my guilt (repressed with a plate of fried spaghetti), I learned to hard cook eggs so the yolks don’t turn green—that’s hard “cook”, not hard “boil.” They repeated this point over and over. If they hadn’t, I would still be boiling my eggs wondering why my yolks are green.

A Quick-Quiz Digression
“ Wondering Why My Yolks are Green” is
   A. A Deep Philosophical Endeavor
   B. A Country Song
   C. A Long Lost Shakespeare Sonnet
   D. Slang for one of those private ailments you might associate with sailors on shore leave.

Back to The Main Point: Cooking
The show covered truly simple cooking, and I liked it because I prefer getting right to the main purpose of the kitchen, eating, while avoiding the primary drawback, cleaning things. It’s just the way men are.

For instance, they’ll dedicate the greater part of their time learning how to get yogurt out of those little tubs without using a spoon just so they don’t have to wash it. They’ll spend years perfecting the technique of “drinking” yogurt.

An Instructional Digression
Here’s how: Lick yogurt from the top as far down as you can. Then tip the tub to the side and squeeze as you roll it in your hands. Tap lightly. Alternate between licking, drinking and rolling motions. Repeat these steps until you’re left with the last bit that’s stuck to the side. If you do it right, your face should be sticky.

The truly dedicated man will keep pushing his facing harder and harder into the tub until he creates an indented circular groove around his mouth. The more astute will use a spoon. Give it a try and let me know how it works out.

Back To The Main Point Again
And the main point is effortless cooking. Someday I’m going to write a book of truly simple recipes because the easy-recipe books available now are inadequate for the simplicity I aspire to.

Truly simple recipes should follow the 5-5 Rule of Cooking: No more than five ingredients and no more than five steps. The fewer the better. And ingredients shouldn’t include intimidating compounds like paprika. You have to be some kind of culinary savant to wield a menacing spice like that. On the other hand, Doritos is a friendly, acceptable ingredient.

Submit Your 5-5 Recipes
I know there are other kitchen-challenged people out there whose highest ambition is to master the technique of bag opening. You know who you are, and I know you have your own cooking tricks. So if you have a favorite 5-5 recipe, I’d love to try it. Send it to

Remember, no more than five ingredients and no more than five steps. Please include your name and phone number in case our research team needs to contact you. If we have any questions about your intricate techniques or special ingredients, we’ll quietly ignore your recipe.

Optional Side Bar

A 5-5 Recipe
Doritos R & B
Can of Kidney Beans
Doritos (to add flavor to anything as boring as rice and beans)

1. Pay the happy man at the Chinese restaurant for a carton of cooked white rice.
2. Go home.
3. Mix the beans and rice in a bowl.
4. Microwave the mix.
5. Scoop the mix up with Doritos and eat.