Tim Horan

There was a time when I actually cooked.

Today, I just heat up.

My mother Nelda was a home economist for Kansas Power and Light, now called Evergy. Many of you might remember her demonstrations at Abilene High School and other schools in the county.

She taught me to make muffins: mix flour, baking powder, salt and sugar together. Stir in milk and egg. A fruit, such as blueberries, can be added.

The mixture is spooned into paper cups placed in a muffin pan and baked.

To make a pie crust we took graham crackers and smashed them into crumbs. We added sugar, melted butter (real butter made from fresh cream from our cow Ada) and cinnamon.

All of which is ready made at grocery stores today.

I can’t remember the last time I even turned on the oven. Occasionally I will fire up the air fyer for Tator Tots.

Saturday was a different story.

We received, well, my wife Kathy purchased, a ready to cook meal.

Heirloom Tomato Flatbreads with pesto, fresh mozzarella and balsamic vinegar was going to take just 25 minutes to make.

“All of the instructions are there. Just look at the pictures,” Kathy said.

I put on the chef’s hat and headed into the kitchen.

So let’s get started.

(I missed the part about toasting the walnuts.)

The list of utensils was listed under “Bust Out:”

• Baking sheet

Baking sheet? What’s that? The air fryer doesn’t have a sheet. I just spray on a little Pam. “Look at the pictures,” she said. Oh, a cookie sheet.

• Medium bowl

I guess I take the one in the middle of the stack.

• Whisk

• Olive oil (2 tsp | 4 tsp)

So is it two or four? I added 3. Only later did I figure out that the 2 was for the 2-person meal and the 4 was for the 4-person meal.

Instructions were to turn on the oven to 450 degrees which didn’t take too long to figure out.

“Wash and dry all produce.”

I thought about getting the hair dryer.

“Halve tomatoes. Thinly slice mozzarella.”

Where in the “Bust Out” section did it say knife? A whisk for sure, but knife?

Sometimes my wife says I think too much. “You overanalyze,” she says. So I didn’t ask her if you cut the tiny tomatoes lengthwise or down the middle. I did some of each.

“Roughly chop walnuts.”

I pounded the package with my hand. Hey, it worked!

“Pick basil leaves from stems.”

Which were the basil leaves again?

“Roughly chop or tear leaves.”

(Missed that part too.)

“Place flatbread on a baking sheet.”

Uh-oh! There was only one flatbread. Yes, I looked back into the bag to see if I missed one. I finally discovered that the two were stuck together.

“Add arugula to bowl with dressing and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper.”

Arugula?

Salt and pepper?

“Honey, we are eating out!”

Contact Tim Horan at editor@abilene-rc.com.

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