Here’s the ugly truth about me: while I do love to bake and cook from scratch, sometimes I’d really rather…. not. Sometimes, I just want it easy and brainless and done. Before I begin participating in the yearlong Book Club Cook Book cooking project steered by Camilla**, it’s important to come clean. I believe we should understand the limits of those who offer advice and how-tos… and therefore, I need to be straightforward about some of mine.
I am not a Cook. Camilla, for example, is a Cook. Sometimes, I want to capitalize all four of those letters when I think of her. She does the CSA, forage for food, farm to table, organic, free range, food so fresh it talks back to you. Personally, I’m not that brave. I love to read about her adventures, but I’ll only go so far myself. Also, I’m in Down East Maine where winter lasts 8 months out of the year and the infrastructure is deliberately ignored to discourage casual interlopers. (It’s a New England thing. We do want your tourism, but……)
Now, I’m not bad in the kitchen. Not calling myself a “Cook” is just my way of acknowledging that you’ll never find me on a Food Network contest. I burn stuff, and sometimes myself. I use my rice cooker every week. And every once in a while, I take a shortcut.
A little over a year ago, I made a version of the chocolate stout pudding on Camilla’s website. It was awesome. I couldn’t use my wrists for a week afterwards from all the whisking, but it was so, so worth it. (That pudding is NOT the hack.) My family raved and gushed and — It was good.
Here’s something I learned not too long afterwards:
My kid loves instant Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate pudding and a Keebler graham cracker premade crust *almost* as much, and it takes 5 minutes to make if you’re unorganized. (THIS pudding is the hack.) Honest to God it takes more time to open the packages than to whisk and refrigerate. And she LOVES it. So, dessert hack. Kid thinks I slaved and I get Best Mom Ever points — and I can do this before morning coffee or on a commercial break.
**The Book Club Cookbook Cooking Crew is a yearlong project and ANYONE can join in. For details, please see here.