The Perfect Victorian Housewife
Last night I made a whole wheat chicken pot pie. What relevance does this have to online dating? A lot, actually.
You see, I’d have made the perfect upper-class Victorian housewife. I can sew, I’m actually fairly decent at embroidery and I’m an above-average arranger of flowers (I’d say “excellent” but my mom went to school for floral design and my attempts never quite measure up). I excel at all things decorative, as illustrated by the phenomenal Latin Fiesta my flat mates and I threw in London a few years back, but cooking? Well, cooking isn’t exactly my forte.
(Which is why I said I’d have made the perfect upper-class Victorian housewife; upper-class housewives need only to plan the menu and supervise its execution.)
I love to bake—in fact, last night I decided to try a little experiment with the left over pie crust (half of which I did actually make from scratch) and the results were quite delectable if I do say so myself. (Then again, it’s hard to go wrong with frozen raspberries, chocolate shaving, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon.) I went through a brief apple pie kick in college, then fudge, then cheesecake, then biscotti, then cinnamon buns from scratch and finally, upon moving home from London, I decided I’d bake each of the cookies from the chocolate recipe book my then-boyfriend had given me as a parting gift and mail them to him at biweekly intervals. I only got as far as the first chapter (this was the boyfriend who didn’t bother to send a Christmas card, let alone a gift) and after that, the whole metric conversion didn’t seem worth the effort.
Cooking, however, is an entirely different matter.
Here is a complete list of meals I know how to make:
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Peanut Satay Chicken
- Pasta with leeks and pancetta
- Lasagna (in theory… as in I could, if I wanted to do)
- Stir Fry
(And it’s taken me a good five minutes to generate this list so I do believe it to be true and accurate representation of my domestic prowess.)
I figure these eight meals will take me through about two months of wedded bliss, provided I marry a man who enjoys cooking (and brings to the marriage an impressive eight-meal repertoire of his own), loves leftovers and enjoys going out.
After that, we’d have to buy a cook book. Or take a cooking class together. Or hire a professional chef. Or get divorced.
And this, dear readers, is where we stumble upon the crux of today’s post: I’m not ready to get married. Not in the slightest.
Granted, no one is really ready to get married (necessity is the mother of invention, after all) and if the bridal shower I attended this past summer is any indication, I’ll definitely acquire more than my fair share of cook books before the big day… but still: I’m 26 and I don’t even know how to cook a roast! I still don’t know how my flat mates managed to avoid poisoning our guests when we decided to host a Thanksgiving Dinner—complete with turkey—during our junior year of college. Clearly it was some sort of pre-Christmas miracle.
It’s not that I haven’t had the opportunity to learn; my mom’s a great cook and is always offering to teach me things but I’m generally more interested in new cheesecake recipes, or dipping things in chocolate. Maybe this will change if/when I do finally tie the knot but here’s hoping that day is still a ways off because as of right now, I’m woefully unprepared.
Feel free to share any non-eggplant recipes to help me expand my repertoire. (I detest eggplant.) Or, alternatively, let me know if you have any sort of fast track methods for becoming an upper-class Victorian housewife.
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16 Responses to “The Perfect Victorian Housewife”
answer = find man who can cook better than you. I can thoroughly recommend it. Or we can do a lend-lease on Hugh. He also hates eggplant (although it’s real name is aubergine, tut tut). 🙂 xx
Okay, I will share the recipie for my chicken Frangelico- Acholol makes everything taste good!
4 Boneless skinless chicken breasts pounded flat
1 cup flour
1 cup heavy cream
11/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 cup frangelico
1 apple peeled, sliced thinly
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tsp butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
In non stick skillet, melt butter over med heat. Drag chicken through flour on both sides and place in skillet. Brown chicken for just a few minutes and remove to oven pan. Place chicken in oven.
Turn pan to low. Add Chicken stock and run a wooden spoon around to loosen bits in pan. Slowly add frangelico and stir. Add cream to thicken until it reaches a thin gravy like consistancy. Let simmer for 5 minutes. Add apple and almonds. Let simmer for 5 mintues. Remove chicken from oven and pour sauce, apples and almonds to pan. Repace in oven for 10 – 15 mintues until chicken is cooked.
I serve it with rice or couscous (plain) and pan fired green beans in butter and garlic. It’s my special decident diner. If you want I would also share Nana’s baked stuffed clams that I love to serve during Lent on Fridays with a baked potato.
Crock pot! Here is one of my favorite resources.
I recommend the salsa chicken and black bean soup, one of our house’s favorites.
i hate cooking…i know how, and the results are most often quite tasty, but if my boyfriend could cook every meal, we’d both be happier…because he likes cooking and he’s better at it. alas, our schedules just don’t line up for this sort of thing (despite the fact we live together, i see him on the weekends. MAYBE on tuesday evenings if he gets home early enough.) anyway, here’s a favorite of ours, because it’s easy and you can use just about any vegetable you like (for instance, i never have leeks in the house, or zucchini, so i use onion and celery), except the potatoes and pie crust:
leek, potato and feta tart
8 ounces of thinly sliced potatoes (usually about 2 medium sized yukon golds or red skin potatoes)
2 leeks, white and light green parts only, sliced into half moons
2 small zucchini, sliced thin
1/2 cup crumbled feta
dill, salt, pepper to taste
1 store bought 9 inch pie crust
heat the oven to 375. in a large skillet, lightly saute the leeks and zucchini until tender. add the feta and spices, then the potatoes. stir everything together.
on a sheet of parchment paper*, roll out the pie crust until it’s roughly 12 inches in diameter. slide the parchment onto a cookie sheet and spoon on the potato mixture, leaving a 2 inch border. fold up the sides and bake for 50-60 minutes**, until potatoes are tender and the crust is golden brown.
*if you have one of those nifty non-stick air bake cookie sheets, you can just put the pie crust directly on the cookie sheet.
**i’ve NEVER baked it this long. i check it at about 35 minutes, and it’s usually done by then.
My go-to cooking technique is to cover defrosted meats with salt, pepper, and olive oil and fish in the oven for an hour or so, 375 is usually a good temperature. Meat thermometers are a lazy cook’s best friend. I also love my crock pot! Anyone, even me, can make delicious soup in a crock pot.
*defrosted meats and fish
I would suggest of course the first thing required would be a time machine.
Sorry no recipe ideas. Jacket potatoes and beans, one of my specialities.
Prick potatoes, put them in the microwave about 5 to 10 minutes. then warm up a tin of beans.
Also who serves up chicken pie with apple slices?.
I’m in a lucky situation, I can’t cook at all, I’m terrible, might poison myself and anyone stupid enough to eat what I cook. But my fiancee luckily can cook cookies from scratch, and even made us a Thanksgiving dinner from scratch without the help of me, of course.
Rather than post a bunch of my “recipes” here, how about, if you want any, just let me know:
–Java crusted steak
-Dustin chicken (breaded chicken and noodles)
-Beef or chicken kabobs*
-Rockin’ Guac (guacamole with beef)*
–Key Lime Pie
-Any flavor salmon you could ever hope for
I can also recommend Wachai Ferry. All you do is add chicken and follow the directions. Amazing from a box meals!
Most of my suggestions might not be fancy or amazing, but they are yummy, good, simple (ish) meals. Guys love yummy, simple (ish) and cooked-for-them meals. Just sayin’
White turkey chili:
•1 tablespoon olive oil
•4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves – cubed
•1 onion, chopped
•1 1/2 cups chicken broth
•2 (4 ounce) can diced green chilies
•1 teaspoon garlic powder
•1 teaspoon ground cumin
•1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
•1/2 teaspoon dried cilantro
•1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
•1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper
•1 (15 ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
•2 green onions, chopped
•4 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1. Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook chicken and onion in oil 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is tender.
2. Stir in the chicken broth, green chilies, garlic powder, cumin, oregano, cilantro, and peppers. Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
3. Stir in the beans, and simmer for 5 more minutes, or until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear. Garnish with green onion and shredded cheese.
I think my wife has cooked for me about 6 times, and I’m pretty certain 5 of those were early on in the relationship. An eight meal repertoire is more than plenty if you hook up with someone even vaguely enthusiastic about cooking.
NOW you’re speaking my language. I never used to cook. My little sister was the one with the baby dolls who followed my mom around the kitchen, while I was out chasing boys and playing with garter snakes in the empty lot across the street.
Gross, I know.
But eventually I learned to turn cooking into my relaxing time. Get home from work, pour a glass of wine, turn on some fantastic music… you get the idea. 😉
Here are 4 I think you can handle, and will be sure to impress any man for whom you might cook them:
Halibut Picatta with Capers – Takes 15 minutes, TOPS
Spicy Tuscan Soup – The Landlord actually commented on this one. Did she ever try it?
Shrimpy, Garlicy, Asparagusy Pasta with Wine – That’s the official title. It looks fancy, but it’s so easy. YUM.
Mozzarella Caprese Bites – So technically these are an appetizer. And maybe not very man-pleasing. But whatever. They’re awesome. Make them for your next girls’ night — you’ll thank me. 😉
I don’t think men really marry for cooking ability anymore if they ever did. My son actually knows how to make from scratch bread and (as he reminded me recently) has cooked a Christmas turkey from scratch (with a lot of over the phone directions if I remember correctly) but that’s because he’s had periods of interest in cooking followed by periods when he’s too busy doing whatever to even think of cooking. Some of his friends can’t cook at all, including the girls and some seem to be able to cook quite well when they suddenly decide they want too. But I think they all know how to order pizza delivery or a good restaurant nearby.
In general I think the lives you lead now are much more interesting than the average Victorian housewife. If you want or need to cook I’m sure you’ll do just fine. Particularly with all the interesting recipes that have been submitted. I may try out a few myself.
One can actually create endless variations of stir fry. Hmmm, that reminds me of something…
Ooo..something I am good at. Here are a few of my ‘specialties’:
1. Italian chicken: you can use boneless or bone-in chicken breast or really any kind of cut, but I like chicken breast for this recipe. Also you can cook it on the stove or in the oven. (400 degrees for 30 min in oven). All you do is clean the chicken, put it in pan, smother it with Italian dressing, add salt & pepper, basil, and any other spices you feel like adding. I like to use either oregeno or marjorum. Delicious and easy!!
2. Salmon: cook in the oven (375 for 15-20 depending on how thick the cut is); prepare salmon with Italian dressing (see a theme here?) then lightly sprinkle Lowery’s seasoned salt. Simple and sooooo good. This is the meal that made my boyfriend’s dad regard me as a better cook than his wife in the case of salmon.
3. Fett w/ alfredo sauce and broc: very quick and easy and delicious…kind of self explanitory too, just cut up the broc and cook it seperately, then cook the pasta, heat up sauce and enjoy!
The next recipe is a new one that I just found and it was amazing:
4. Amazing Pot Roast:
-2 (10.75oz) condensed cream of mushroom soup
-1 (1oz) dry onion soup mix
-1 1/4 cup water
-5 1/2lbs pot roast
1. Mix soups and water in crock pot. Add roast.
2. Cook on high 3-4 hours or on low 8-9 hours.
This recipe makes its own gravey which is great!!