Friday, July 17, 2009

Give me the "Dumbing it Down" version

Are you ready for some yummy tuna casserole or as we tell the triplets....noodles with stuff in them?

I recently found myself in the kitchen, alone and staring down at what I believed was the simplest cooking recipe known to any man, woman or preschooler for that matter. Oh no, actually I'm quite wrong about this. I became aware last evening that I'm too dumb to even decipher the easiest of the easy Internet tuna recipes from

Last night while I was in the process of boiling my elbow noodles for the above recipe (which by the way I've learned to "doctor up" with onions, cheese and a bad of potato chips), Mom MD walked by the stove, peered into the pot and asked how many cups of noodles I had used? My reply was "three, as that is how many it says on the recipe!" Here's how the simple recipe reads:

3 cups noodles, cooked

Mom MD's reply was "no, that's not right." I then said "Huh, what do you mean? Says right HERE, 3 cups noodles, cooked.....I put 3 cups of noodles in and I'm cooking them." She then said that this is not what it means and she can see why a man wouldn't understand this.....What the freakin' hell exactly am I missing here?

OK, I've read articles in recent years about the necessity by Betty Crocker and Co. to "dumb down" their cookbooks to reach new generations of culinary challenged individuals. Again, how am I getting this wrong? This was a SIX ingredient recipe from the Internet for pity sake. Mom MD then proceeded to explain what the directions really meant.

The cooked noodles should equal 3 cups. So how in the heck am I supposed to know how many noodles to put in the pot in the first place? We all understand that raw noodles expand when cooked, so how many dry cups of noodles yields 3 cups of cooked noodles? IF I put in three cups to begin with then I'll be wasting plenty of noodles when it's time to combine the ingredients. Am I lame here or what? I'm starting to think so............

Perhaps the answer to my puzzle is how the directions are worded? 3 cups of noodles, cooked....3 CUPS of noodles, cooked...3 cups of NOODLES, cooked..3 cups of noodles, COOKED.

OK, I think I understand. The recipe wants 3 cups of cooked noodles. So why doesn't it say this in the first place? Why doesn't it tell me how many cups of raw noodles to put in to yield 3 cups of cooked noodles?

The more I think about this...the more I think there is some kind of gender bias working against me. We men (especially those challenged in the kitchen) want to know how much to put in the pot in the first place to have enough noodles to complete the recipe. Is it 2 cups to make 3? How about 1.75 cups to make 3? We prefer exact numbers and appreciate precision. Just tell us. Forget the guessing and the eye balling. Just tell us (& me), please!

I suppose I can take comfort that I was only making a tuna casserole and not building a rocket or something..........


Beth said...

All this was WAY over my head. That is just one of the reasons I married a chef. And from what I can tell, he doesn't use measuring cups.

Aunt Juicebox said...

I agree with you, it should have save 3 cups of cooked noodles. The great thing about extra noodles though is that you can make a ton of other stuff with them.

JennyMac said...

Too funny...and yes, it could be more clear. Poor Betty Crocker..she had no idea how much things would change. LOL.

A Free Man said...

So what you're trying to say is that you're not exactly a whiz in the kitchen.