Annie Dear: What’s for dinner? Best not to ask

The Examiner

Over the years I have found cooking to be an absolute joy, or an total pain in the bum – I’m sure feelings held by many of you.

Turn out a perfectly roasted rib roast with Yorkshire pudding and I’m has happy as a clam, not being sure how happy clams are, but I reckon if there is an adage attributable to this phenomenon, I would imagine it’s richly deserved.

Annie Dear

On the flip side, I did try my hand at duck once, and decided thereafter that I’d much rather feed them in my back yard than eat them. A more inedible meal I don’t think I’ve created in a very long time.

So cooking is a tad hit and miss, depending on my level of adventure versus my degree of ho-hum. As a nod to inspiration, I’ve subscribed for years to a couple of foodie type magazines, and realize that my spirit of discovery has all but evaporated.

It doesn’t help that the person I’m feeding, other than me, is an “I’m not a picky” picky-as-hell eater. Sir’s taste buds reached their maturity at an early age and refused in the most stubborn manner to progress terribly much further. So he would be thoroughly appalled at what’s happening in the world of foodiness to the point of being comatose, and I must confess I’m not far behind him.

It’s all very well and good to “stretch the elastic” – that is to expand your audience’s tolerance, but really.

With the latest magazine in hand, I flipped through to see if there was any other way I could cook a steak, an ear of corn or a baked potato, only to find recipes crammed with basically unobtainable and often unpronounceable products that would make the heads of Hen House, Price Chopper and even Whole Foods explode.

Where, one might ask, can one obtain rice bran oil? Stumped? Oh, well, how about pimento de la vera picante, or cojita or Oaxaca cheeses? Where might one fall upon white urad dal, brown mustard seeds of ‘nduja?

Why do chefs these days find it positively orgasmic to add squid ink to pasta dishes? I don’t know about you, but I have indeed been presented with such a plate. Now I’m no slouch when it comes to exotic food or foreign cuisine, but to look down on a plate of black spaghetti just made me think of what you might bait your hook with while dangling for a tasty bit of perch. All I believe it does it add a taste of salt and possibly iodine to a dish which does not make me want to rush out and make a squid mad – this being how you obtain said ink.

Who decided kale was the next best thing to sliced bread? Now I see it’s not just any kale one needs for dish superiority – one must hunt and or gather Lacinato kale, otherwise known as cavolo nero or I think its most apt name – dinosaur kale. Yes, reader, it should’ve been rendered extinct years ago.

Ah well, I sigh. Such is life. I’ll rush off now to prepare Sir’s dinner – how’s a nice carrot steak bedaubed with tomato butter sound to you, love?

I know – ugh. I agree.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at