Then I Stabbed The Gravy


Think of a movie that you’ve seen just once, many years ago. You might have liked it, but now, you kind of remember the plot and maybe a few hazy pictures.

January seems like that to me right now.

I mean, it’s not like I don’t remember what it felt like to watch Randy day after day in the hospital, but it has a hazy, dreamy feel. It seems bizarre to me that Randy has only been home a week.

He’s getting better. I’m doing what I can to repay my debt to my sleep bank. I’m still behind on my payments and I’m getting my ass kicked over that.

I decided this past weekend, after 3 terrifying weekends at the hospital and existing on very little sleep, that making a turkey dinner with all the trimmings was a good idea.

It didn’t happen.

Those little turkey breasts are expensive, you guys. Mine is thawed. It’s a work night. I can’t do a whole turkey dinner on a work night.

I decided to cook dinner in shifts.

I’ll bake the turkey breast, peel potatoes, make a salad, and put together the pre-made stuffing tonight. Tomorrow, I’ll boil the potatoes, make the carrots, and heat the other shit up. Easy peasy.

Since I am me, I’ve already run into a few issues.

First, when I was cutting the plastic away from the turkey breast, a thick brown ooze squirted from the package.

What the fucking fuck is that?

Oh shit. I stabbed the gravy. Goddammit so much. 

Okay, this is okay. I’ll put it in a baggy. It will be fine. 

Then, there was the garlic clove incident.

I thought, you know, you are better at writing about your fucked up life than you are actually living it. Sure, I’ll get the turkey breast cooked tonight, but all those other things I was going to do? Like laundry? Nope. I’ll write about my cooking fiasco instead.

However, wouldn’t it be better for you if I offered you some how-to advice rather than talking about my epic garlic clove battle?

So, here you go. Cooking tips for women who should really be better at this shit by this stage in life:

  • Don’t listen to your mother. If your mother says she made chocolate pudding out of avocados that taste just like chocolate pudding, then she is lying. It is disgusting and will make you cranky and pining for a pudding cup. This isn’t so much a cooking tip as it is a life lesson.
  • You need at least one good thumbnail to peel garlic. My nails look like they’ve been cared for by gerbils. I don’t own an emery board. My thumb nails break at the base all the time. Am I a grown up who goes and looks for the little nail scissors to fix the issue? No. I tear the nail off, which is always a painful mistake, and leave this little flappy, worthless nub of a thumbnail. If you are a person who abuses their thumbnails and find your thumbnails have been rendered useless, then just skip any recipe that requires peeling a clove of garlic. Trust me on this. It’s possible you will get frustrated to tears if you don’t follow this advice.
  • Just give up on macaroni and cheese. Seriously. Let that shit go. You will never make macaroni and cheese that isn’t dry and clumpy, or weirdly greasy. The actual macaroni will either be a gummy mushy mess or hard as a rock. You will never get the recipe right. Ever. Leave the macaroni and cheese for those cooks who made it to midlife and have grown up skills in the kitchen.
  • Have the basic measuring tools. For instance, if you can’t find a teaspoon, don’t use a tablespoon thinking you’ll by able to eyeball the conversion. You will get it wrong. Also, if you find you have no teaspoon sized measuring spoons because the teaspoon one is the one that always finds its way into the garbage disposal, then take heart, garbage disposals aren’t as expensive as you think they are.

There you go, some cooking tips from me to you. Now excuse me, I have to finish phase two of my weeknight turkey dinner. I don’t usually make stuffing from a box, but I know my limits right now. Kind of. I mean, I’m unrealistic, but I’m not psychotic.


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  • *waving enthusiastically to Lisa K. as I begin* “Good morning, you there in the corner!” 🙂

    My mother was an amazingly talented woman. She worked her way up to Assistant Vice-President of a bank in Miami, but her true skills (and the ones that made her the happiest) were the domestic kind. Cooking, baking, sewing, etc. OMG, talk about a hard act to follow! She did teach me a few skills and I actually was getting rather good at making pie crusts from scratch and all that stuff. But, unfortunately, my domestic goddess aspirations just weren’t me. My husband was an amazingly talented man, who would do all the “heavy cooking” in our home. I call anything that needs to be seared ahead of time, basted, stuffed with anything, etc. “heavy cooking”. HAHA! He was the daughter my mom always wanted. 🙂 I am fantastic however at cooking the vegetables! Those little boxes need a deft hand to get them open and manage to extricate the veggies without the whole thing dropping on the floor. Okay, I would also occasionally help peel carrots or potatoes or whatever, but most of the time, for regular meals, I was the “Bird’s Eye” lady. Shit, I was so spoiled. And now, I’m like a 57 year-old teenager, trying to navigate life with very few life skills. But, at least I haven’t stabbed the gravy! 😀 (Just yanking your chain!)

    *passing a steaming hot cup of joe and a cinnamon biscotti to Lisa*

  • I caught myself rubbing the end of my thumb – I am THAT person that chews off her thumb nails down to where thumb nails aren’t supposed to go – I guess I’ll never be a garlic peeler (lucky garlic isn’t my favourite food!) I’m impressed you’re cooking anything at all, let alone turkey – good on you!!

  • My cooking skills consist of: open box. Peel back plastic. Place in microwave for 5 minutes and let cool 1 minute. Seriously, you are miles beyond me! But, I actually have a tip for peeling garlic, taught to me by my husband, who is the family cook. Take the garlic clove and hit it with the flat side of a wide knife. (You will end up with a slightly flat clove but it will loosen the skin and the skin will come right off.) By the way, my nails are also cared for by gerbils. Nice to know I’m not the only one.

  • Am I going to sound like an asshole if I say partly crush the garlic clove with the flat part of a knife blade? And I mean put the flat part on the clove and just give it a light tap with your fist. If you hit it too hard you’ll just end up with smashed garlic and that’s impossible to peel. Anyway that’s how I get it started.
    If I do sound like an asshole I hope I can make up for it by saying I’m in awe of your multitasking skills. Not being able to multitask is what kept me from becoming a professional chef. Well, that and not wanting to be a professional chef. In fact after a summer stocking the salad bar at a Shoney’s I never want to work in the food industry ever again.
    Making spaghetti overwhelms me because I have to have at least two pots going, and, oh, shit, I forgot to make the salads. Once a year I make eggs Benedict for my wife. Toasting the English muffins, warming the sliced ham, poaching the eggs, and don’t get me started on the Hollandaise sauce which is like a super-heavy element because there are one nanosecond periods between not quite ready, perfect, and breaking down.
    And then from the other room my wife yells, “Don’t forget to warm up the plates!” and I have a total breakdown.

  • You know all i can do is giggles at this!
    Alana is correct on her tip on how to peel garlic, however “you” hitting a knife… visions of a trip to the ER. I buy the jarred minced garlic, saves time, nails, and that garlic smell that remains 3 hours later on your hands.

  • Take a garlic clove, lay the flat side of a wide knife on top (stay holding the handle, of course) and give the blade a quick whack with your other hand, slightly smashing the garlic clove.
    The peel will just flake off.
    That is probably the only useful cooking advice I have…other than to never boil really fresh eggs, as they will not peel without tearing up the egg.

  • I use a garlic crusher gadget. I love it. Use it all the time b/c no nails and other missing things.Mac and cheese from a box? That always works and is never out of style. Turkey is always an event. Not just a dinner. Whether it’s breast or whole—it’s a thing that takes all day/night. Loved your tips and couldn’t agree more on the avocado chocolate pudding.

  • I’m sure I would’ve inadvertently stabbed the gravy too. Sigh. I’ve got three older sisters and a mom who are all great cooks and bakers. I know how to cook (well enough to get a half-decent meal on the table), it’s just that I don’t enjoy it. Someone has to be the family oddball, right? Anyway, if I can manage to produce something edible then I congratulate myself for making the effort. So, given your circumstances, congrats M! (And YES to a jar of minced garlic in the fridge, although I do like to palm-strike a knife blade from time to time – that’s me being bad-ass.) Have you seen those little kid-chefs on tv? Shudders

    • I saw those kid chefs on TV while Randy was in the hospital. Put me to shame, that’s for sure. haha.

      My mother and two younger sisters are very talented artists. I am not. I’m not even good at coloring. haha. So, I get being the oddball.

  • Oh gosh. Get yourself a garlic squisher. Once the clove is squished the papery peel is easy to pick off. I used to use the handle of a knife but then I saw a guy selling wooden garlic squishers at the farmer’s market in Ithaca, just a turned piece of hard wood with a flat bottom and a rounded top that fits comfortably in your palm. I love it. Here’s the closest I found online:

    I have a chef friend who squishes garlic with the heel of his hand but I tried that one time and I think it requires tougher hands than mine.

  • People know ahead of time not to expect much from my cooking. Anyway, I just live with my sister, and the prospect of my cooking encourages her to find time to cook.

    I can always use the advice, though, so thanks for this!

  • Glad to hear your husband is home and hopefully recuperating well.
    Good for you to make roast turkey dinner on a work night!
    Fresh garlic is the devil vegetable to nails and hands. The smell on hands lingers!
    Leftovers are my favorites. Everything goes into a soft taco shell for me. Tacos, enchiladas, they all do well with leftover bits adding cheese and salsa. My cooking tip.

  • I’m so out of the loop on this one…I am guilty of regular manicure and somewhat extravagant skills in the kitchen. But my heart goes out to you, people 🙂

  • What a rough month–amazing you emerged with your sense of humor intact. Secret garlic tip: Trader Joe’s frozen garlic cubes. Saved me stinky fingers and long nails. Just sayin’.

  • Did you know there is a garlic press that you put the clove in whole and when you press it it leaves the skin behind? tada! No peeling.

    Hope that tip helps.

    And really, the turkey breast came with gravy? I love that!

  • First, I am SO glad that Randy is home and doing better. I think this January of 2016 is a month many would like to forget. I hope you catch up on sleep soon. Being exhausted always seems to make things a thousand times worse.

    And if it makes you feel any better, I always make stuffing from a box. I love that shit!

  • I buy the little jars of garlic – then my only struggle is remembering if I prefer minced or chopped. Cooking dinner in shifts is an awesome idea but would never work for me. I’m the dipshit who decides the pies can wait till Thanksgiving/Christmas Day and then spends the rest of the day scrambling to get everything else done. We usually eat our holiday meals around 7pm because apparently I am not nearly as efficient and skilled as I think I am. Feel better now? 🙂

  • I to have minimal kitchens skills. However I do make a Mean gravy. This was one thing I actually listened to my Mom about ( thinking since I Love gravy I’d better pay attention) thank Gawd because some of the meats I make are either mooing or they resemble a hockey puck. Gravy the problem solver! I decided to make chicken soup tonight. Yesterday I purchased a cooked chicken from Sams (why fight the raw bird when you can get a beautifully cooked 3lb one for 5 bucks)! Today I get all the veggies out, chop all the damn things. As I rip apart the fridge looking for the chicken I cut up yesterday it’s nowhere to be found, really WTF? As I’m cleaning the counter I move the drying bread bag (bird food) Voila!! found drying bag of cut up chicken (It looked just like the bread I swear!) So as I’m staring at the pork chops I get out…. Nope, ‘m I calling for pizza!!! Tomorrow I’m thinking Chinese! LOL

  • Garlic hack, break bulb in half place in mason jar/lid. Shake like mad. remove all the big parts of the bulb and paper, replace cloves, shake again cloves come out clean ready to use!

  • I’m glad I’m not the only one who sucks in the kitchen. When I cook you can guarantee 3 things will happen. 1. I will cut myself somehow, someway.
    2. I’ll stop the bleeding by somehow burning myself in the same exact spot.
    3. I’ll spill whatever I managed to throw together down the front of my shirt especially if it’s orange or red. I keep the number for every take out place in a 10 mile radius. No wonder I’m always broke!

  • I also labor daily under the delusion that I can whip up a nice (roasted meat, all the sides) dinner in 30 minutes or less. Why can’t the technology that made life so easy for the Jetson’s be REAL?
    Stay strong…….

  • I CAN cook, but I don’t see the point in spending 2 hours cooking a meal that is eaten in 10 minutes.

    And my solution for making macaroni & cheese is to make it like my mom did. Out of a box.

By Michelle


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