Get The Picture? By Sherry Hopkins

Published 12:00 am Friday, October 2, 2009

Sherry Hopkins

Experimental cook overlooks logic, smells up the house

The house stinks, it smells like dirty sweat socks or worse. The culprit? Me, I’ve been cooking.

I like to call myself an experimental cook. I like to take recipes and shake them up a bit with my own flair or lack thereof. Today I made an Italian appetizer that looked and sounded delicious when it was presented on the Food Network. The recipe calls for shaved fresh Parmesan Reggiano cheese, fresh chopped basil and lemon zest. It would be hard to mess this one up I think.

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It took me three trips to three different grocers before I found the ingredients and I never found the right cheese. Plain Parmesan would have to do.

So on this rainy morning before 7 a.m. I’m in the kitchen. I shave the cheese and chop the basil and zest the lemon into my prep bowl. The only other step is to mix and drop spoonfuls onto a baking sheet in small mounds. Pop into a preheated, 400-degree oven for a few minutes until melted and lightly browned and you have crackers.

Well I do have crackers and they are lovely but they are nasty. I hate Parmesan cheese, it tastes awful and it really stinks, hence the smell permeating my house at the moment.

I Google Parmesan Reggiano cheese and find right away that there is a huge difference in what I have purchased and what the recipe calls for. Who knew?

I have loved cooking all my life. I love the immediate gratification and the look on Dear Don’s face when he says, “This is the best thing I’ve ever had.” And he says that a lot about things that really don’t qualify, but I appreciate his enthusiasm.

I love watching all the Food Network cooking and challenge shows and recently was re-inspired while watching Julie and Julia, a movie in part about Julia Child.

But who starts a recipe using ingredients that you don’t even like? Did I think that the Basil and Parmesan would miraculously transform themselves into a lovely appetizer? I guess I did.

So now I’m out over $7 of my limited personal money and nothing to show for it but a stinky house.

I need to go watch something a little more productive that doesn’t require me to buy anything.

Who eats appetizers at home anyway? Dear Don can barely wait until dinner is ready most days.

An appetizer would throw him off his game. It’s the sport he loves most.

You get the picture.

(Contact Sherry at