Thursday, July 5, 2012

Feeding James

When I got married, due to my persistent refusal to learn over the years, I didn't know how to cook, at all.  I would say (often) 'Mum, I'm going to be cooking for my husband and 7 children for most of my life! - I'm not going to start now!!! I will clean up'.  Thank goodness I at least knew how to do that!

I had warned James, previous to us getting married, many times, that I didn't know how to cook.  I remember him saying that he'd eat take out for all he cared, he was just happy to marry me.  Looking back I now know that that's an extraordinary comment - James hates junk!  Maybe he would have thought twice if he'd realised exactly how little I knew about cooking.  But he was young and in love, and obviously didn't realise the depth of my lack of cooking knowledge.

It all came out on our honeymoon.  James said he'd teach me how to cook a simple meal his 'Papa' had taught him.  He said "I'll cook the meat and veggies, and you just do the rice".  I smiled and agreed, then looked at him expectantly.  He started cooking, and looked at me funny, till I had to ask "how do I cook the rice?".  I'll never forget his face - he was shocked, and it's like it finally sunk in that I knew nothing.  Like I said, I'd been upfront, but obviously he was wearing his rose coloured glasses :)

I guess when I say 'nothing', I exaggerate.  I knew how to poach eggs using an egg poacher.  I loved poached eggs.  And I could toast toast.  Breakfast is the most important meal of the day after all.  That was it.

Anyway, the next couple of years were a HUGE learning curve for me, and involved a lot of tears and wishing like crazy I'd taken my wonderful mother up on some basic cooking lessons.  It's not like James left all the cooking to me anyway - he cooked, a lot.  But I felt SUCH a responsibility to cook for my husband, and had NO skills or knowledge to draw from.  Even watching my mother over the years - who is one of the most amazing cooks on the planet! - had not taught me much, because I hadn't watched to learn, I'd watched to be able to lick the beaters.  And had put more effort into avoiding cooking than learning anything about it.  

Now James, has a fabulous appetite.  He has some kind of super speedy metabolism and has to eat like crazy to keep up with it, or he looses weight rapidly and gets sick.  He is very lean, and eats at least 3 times as much as normal people.  So the meals have to be massive.  The poor guy suffered at first, but gradually I've become a LOT more confident and able to cook gigantic, satisfying meals for the poor guy on a budget. 

I remember one of the first meals I managed to churn out once we were married:  nachos - lol :)  I did it with mince, and olives, and sour cream and sauces and cheese and possibly bacon - everything I could think of that might work.  I remember sitting down with James to eat, and him turning to me and very sincerely expounding on the virtues of my ... nachos... and assuring me it was the best nachos he had EVER tasted.  I burst out half laughing and half in tears.  My cooking was THAT bad, that he was INCREDIBLY excited about the NACHOS I'd made!!  That was just one of many low points - he was very patient, and I was determined to stop being useless, and we've come a loooong way!

Anyway, this is a GIANT story to introduce any cooking posts I do in the future.  They will normally be labelled 'Feeding James', and feed 4 normal people, or James and I.  I am still not a fabulous cook, and I try pretty hard when I want to make a nice meal.  Like, really hard.  And when I want to try a new dish I psych msyelf up weeks (or more sometimes lol) in advance, and google tips on cooking that type of meat or whatever.  So the other important thing about any cooking posts I do, is that YOU can do them too, even if you just got married and have not tried rice yet.

I'd better finish off this giant, storybook post, with a quick, easy recipe, hey? :)  

Takeaway Breakfast Wraps

James has to eat breakfast or he wilts away of course, and he was going through a long prac (he's studying at the moment) a few weeks ago, and with the hours he was doing he sometimes wasn't getting a lot of time to eat before leaving.  Sometimes he'd end up eating his lunch for breakfast and miss out on that, and so I was trying to think of a takeaway breakfast.  I actually got the idea off a friend who made them for her husband - and I you can change the ingredients around (and amounts - I guessed those!) according to taste!

9-10 potatoes
500 grams bacon, chopped
3 onions, diced
a dozen eggs
Some milk/butter/grated cheese
Smoky BBQ Sauce
12-16 large Wraps

  1. Chop up the potatoes, chuck them on a tray or 2 with some oil, cook in the oven on about 210(C) for maybe an hour (or till they're yummy!), turning every 20 minutes.  Most people would add some sea salt at this stage, but James is anti-salt, so we ditch that..
  2. Fry up the chopped bacon and onion
  3. Scramble the eggs - you can crack them all into a bowl with some milk and maybe butter and grated cheese (if you want the butter and cheese), whip them up and then put them in the fry pan/saucepan and mix, mix, mix till they're done.  
  4. Put out the wraps, put some potato, bacon and onion and scrambled eggs on each, top with smoky BBQ sauce, wrap, gladwrap, and put in a freezer ziplock bag to keep frost free!
Then each morning you can grab one and zap it in the microwave on your way out the door, or when you get to work, and you're set!  My friend was saying she added chopped chorizo sausages to hers, and they were delicious!  But I was just using what I had at the time.  Most people would only eat one but James ate at least 2 I think, so they went a lot faster than I expected.  I felt luck SUCH a good wife while they lasted!! :)

And excuse my yucky-coloured bench, but here's kind of what they looked like:

I do love a good breakfast! :)


  1. Yay for you :)
    This is a neat idea. I might have to use it one day ;)
    Looking forward to more "Feeding James" posts :)

  2. hahaha - this cracked me up. I think you're an amazing cook cause those breakfast wraps look way too complicated for me.

    Pretty sure the only meal I had ever made when Darren and I were dating was spaghetti (I was living out of home at the time and had to start making my own meals) Darren taught me almost all that I know and is still a far better cook than I am! Although I kill it in the dessert arena :)

  3. Oh and I just have to add this little story... Brittany if you are reading this - know that I love you and I think you're amazing too.

    So Britt calls up Dad one night after being married for a little while and tells Dad that her rice isn't cooking. (She's using a rice cooker). So Dad gets out our rice cooker to know what she's talking about and talks her through what's she done. Finally he says - Have you put the water in....

    No she had not. haha

  4. Lol - bless Brittany!!! :) I don't blame her though, I probably would've done the same thing left to my own devices!! :) And yes Stacey - you kill it in the dessert arena! ;) xo

    Oh hey wait what about that amazing salad you made that time, with that stuff that's pronounced funny?! You cook amazing stuff with ingredients I've never heard of! You totally rock!!!

  5. Abs, I have had some very, very yummy meals at your home in recent years! Two recipes that I love are ones that you did first and shared with me, (thank you! :) And - you were always very good on clean-up too! :)
    I think this is a great idea for a do-ahead and quick to go breakfast :)