I don’t remember ever really being taught to cook. I can remember eating as a child and having a few favorite recipes. I remember having to wash the dishes (and I still hate doing that!). I can even recall owning a Strawberry Shortcake cookbook. But I don’t remember someone telling me how to measure, mix and create.
My adolescent years were riddled with family crisis and being an only child meant a lot of time spent on my own. This meant being alone during dinner time. I would often break a block of ramen noodles in two while beginning to boil water. In went the noodles, a few times around the pot with a fork and I sprinkled it with the seasoning packet. I enjoyed my “nutritious meal” alone. I admit, now I cannot eat ramen without a lonely pang in my stomach.
During my teenage years, I still found myself preparing meals with no one else around. But I had graduated to higher caliber, boxes instead of plastic bags. Boxes of Velveeta mac & cheese. Boxes of Hamburger Helper. And one of my personal favorites, boxes of Betty Crocker Scalloped Potatoes. These were all doable meals for me and I only caught things on fire once in my teen years – when trying to make popcorn.
The idea of those scalloped potatoes have stuck with me. I don’t have the same lonely feeling when I think about eating them again. I remember the nights when I would bake up a box and then eat the whole thing.
Never had I thought about making my own scalloped potatoes until now. I make so many other things, why not those. From scratch. (As. If. I could find a box here!) Some friends had told me they had made them and how easy & delicious they were. So when I made my list of Things to Make in 2008, Scalloped Potatoes made it onto the list.
In looking through Nigella’s on-line recipes, I settled on her recipe for Creamy Potato Gratin. Can I share some frustrations about this recipe? She speaks of a peeled onion and never says what to do with it except add it to the pot. Should I have added the onion…whole? She says to slice the potatoes 1/2 inch thick. Way too thick. Those way too thick potato slices ended up in a milk, cream and butter bath. They browned nicely, but I had to lift each potato slice and drain before serving. Anyway, I adapted her recipe slightly to make sense of the onion. I liked the potatoes themselves, but as you can tell I was not excited about the pool of milk.
Maybe I will try Elise’s recipe next time.
Creamy Scalloped Potatoes are my submission for Weekend Cookbook Challenge – Nigella Lawson. Weekend Cookbook Challenge was created by Sara of I Like To Cook and this month is being hosted by Ani at Foodie Chickie. Although I do not have a Nigella cookbook, I hope an online recipe will be an acceptable replacement.