The kids are at daycare. It’s my day off, and my lovely walk with Loki is over. I’ve bought the last of my groceries.
It’s time to start cooking.
My beef broth had been simmering all night, and as I turn it off and poured it into mason jars, I wonder why it seems a little pale — more like water with a bit of dirt than the thick, dark brown gel I’d been expecting. And there’s so much of it — by the time I empty all of the liquid from my stock pot, I’m down to one empty mason jar left. I’m sure I did something wrong, but I can’t figure out what. I know I followed the directions, vague as they were. (Fill the pot 3/4 of the way full? Does it matter if I use a giant pot or a little pot?)
Oh, well, I decide. Nothing I can do about it now. So I move on to my next task of the day, making SCD/GAPS yogurt. I pour my organic, whole-cream, grass-fed cow milk into a saucepan (only after Googling “how many ounces in a quart?” and pouring the milk into a Nalgene bottle to figure out how many ounces there were in the half-gallon container) and balance my new thermometer on the side (have I mentioned that besides hating cooking, I also hate math?). Then I wait. And wait.
Eventually, the milk hits 180 degrees F. Hurrying, I plunk the saucepan into a large bowl of ice and wait for the temp to drop down to 110. Now I have to figure out how to keep it there for the next 24 hours. I wrap the mason jar with a beach towel and cram it into a small cooler, draping more towels over the top. Maybe that’ll work, I think. Probably not, but maybe.
Now it’s time for chicken stock. I’ve posted before about how much I hate touching raw meat, and no, I haven’t gotten used to it in the past year (mostly because my husband still does most of the cooking.) I try not to grimace as I rinse the chicken in the sink, and and try not to think about how much it feels like a naked baby. I realize I’ve never handled a whole chicken before. I wish I could still say that.
My recipe called for the neck and giblets to be added to the stock pot, but the chicken I bought hasn’t come with those. I both scowl that I bought the wrong thing and sigh with relief that I don’t have to touch any more disgusting bits for now. I throw the chicken in its pot, add onions, carrots, garlic, a thick slice of ginger root and water, and set it on the stove. Go me–four hours down and three cooking goals mastered.
Flying high, I move on to putting away laundry and cleaning bathrooms. I’ve done two loads and am on my third bathroom when Jason walks in. He wastes no time letting me know how I messed up everything.
“Why didn’t you cut the onion up more? That would give the stock more flavor,” he said. “Now it’ll taste like water, just like the beef stock you made. You put way too much water in that one, and you bought the wrong type of bones. And the yogurt probably won’t stay at a constant temperature the way you’ve done it.”
“I just need to take over,” he continued later, when it’d been proven he was right about the mistakes I’d made. The beef broth was watery, and after he took over and finished the chicken stock, it tasted much better. “It’d be like me trying to teach the kids grammar. That’s your area; cooking is mine.”
Holding a scummy wash rag and bottle of ACV, I kick the bathroom door shut and start to cry. I’d been so proud of myself, yet it turned out I’d done nothing right.