Friday, January 31, 2014

Fcking Frozen Pizzas

When my husband and I found out we were having our first child, we made an agreement:  I would be a stay-at-home mom for a year when the baby came. 

Part of our original stay-home agreement was that I would be the one who cooked supper about 3 times a week.  (I don’t believe in that nightly crap.  I plan leftovers as part of my weekly rotation. Some might call that lazy; I call it efficient.  And them assholes.) 

You might be surprised to hear that I was actually the one who made the supper rule.  In fact, I remember that when I brought it up to my husband, he disagreed, shaking his head so hard that I thought he was having a seizure.  When I kicked him, though, his eyes didn’t roll back in his head (for very long), so I knew he was fine.  Turns out he just wasn’t so keen on the idea of me cooking—and, incidentally, possibly harming him and our new child.

You see, folks, this cooking thing never has never come naturally to me.

The first time I had to “cook” hamburger (I didn’t know back then that the proper term was “brown”), I was 23 years old. 

No, you don’t need to go back and re-read that line.  You read it right the first time. 

I was raised by a father who had to work all the time to support 5 hungry bastards (given Mom’s “social butterfly,” i.e. “skank” nature, we’re still not sure if bastard is a literal term or not, so we act like we use it in jest when referring to ourselves), so our main source of nutrition was what he had time to make:  family-sized frozen dinners—which was totally cool with us.  I’m still addicted to the Banquet frozen Swedish meatball meal—and kinda pissed that they raised the price on them from 88 cents to a whole dollar.  But obviously Banquet needs those 12 cents more than I do, and really, who can blame them?  Those Swedish meatballs are worth every penny of that whole dollar.  I’d probably pay a buck and a half—but shhhh.  Don’t tell them I said that.

That first time I browned beef, it was for a potluck dinner at the school where I worked.  I have no idea why they hired me to mold young brains, but they did, and dammit if I hadn’t found I was actually pretty good at it.  I walked into the apartment that I shared with my rommate, Nick, carrying the Wal-Mart bag of raw beef at arm’s length.  I stopped just inside the front door and sighed.

Nick ignored me.

I sighed again.

He ignored me again.

Since we could do this all day and I simply didn’t have the time, I stepped in front of Jeopardy.  (Fcking nerd.)

“Dammit, Shay, what?

“I need help.”

“Of course you do.  You always need help.  I’ve never met a bigger idiot than you.”  He said it with a small smile, so I think he was kidding, but that wasn’t important. 
I waited for him to ask what I needed help with, but he just sat there, staring at me.  I stood there for a few more seconds and almost became convinced that he could see right through me and into the Jeopardy game, but then he heaved himself off the couch and started walking toward his bedroom, where there was another t.v.

“Alright, I’ll tell you,” I said hurriedly, ignoring the obvious fact that he didn’t give a shit.  “I don’t know how to cook hamburger.  I need to do it for school.  Can you help me?”

I remember the look on his face clearly.  It was an exaggerated grimace, one that could easily be read as: “Holy shit, I live with this dumbass and call her my friend?”  I almost felt sorry for him, but I brushed it off.  I didn’t have time for pity; I had beef to cook.

Now it was Nick’s turn to sigh.  “You turn on the stove—"

“Do you have to like, push in the knobs when you turn it on?  Like on a washing machine?”

He rolled his eyes.  “You just turn the damned dial—"

“To what?  Lo?  Hi?  Aren’t there numbers in between those settings?”

Nick slowly shook his head in disbelief, then walked past me to the kitchen, grabbing my Wal-Mart bag on the way. 

Yeeeesssss.  I had scored.  He was going to do it for me.

When I followed him into the kitchen, however, he simply threw the bag onto the counter, turned the dial on the stove to 5, and walked away.

“Wait!  Wait!” I cried, hurrying after him.  “What do I do now?”

“What the fck do you mean, what do you do now?  You brown it!”

“You mean, like, put the burger into the pan and sort of push it around?”

Yes, that’s what I mean.”   He was almost to his room now.

“But how do I get it out of the package?” I asked, panicked.  “Can’t you die if you touch raw meat the wrong way or something?”

Wash your hands,” he said.

“Okay.  Okay,” I said, more to myself than to him.  I took a deep breath, turned, and walked slowly back into the kitchen, where I stood, hands hanging at my sides, and watched the raw meat on the counter.  I had no idea where to start. 

In one last-ditch effort to get Nick to help me in case he was still listening, I called out, “Don’t I need to add any grease or anything?”

Suddenly, Nick materialized next to me in the kitchen.  “Oh, wow.  This I’ve got to see.”

That asshole sat at the kitchen table and shouted directions at me in between eyerolls and not-even-trying-to-stifle-them giggles.  I managed to brown the burger without burning the house down, but by the time my husband and I were expecting our first child about 2 years into our marriage (and about 7 years after the incident with Nick), I really hadn’t learned much more about cooking.  In fact, I’d say I had only browned about 3 more pounds of hamburger in all of those years—and that’s a grossly exaggerated estimate.  It was probably more like 0 pounds.

So when I suggested the dinner arrangement, the hubs wasn’t happy.  He was scared.

I surprised him, though, by getting good at cooking.  It took a LOT of mess-ups and thrown-out food (there’s this one ham and beans incident to which we don’t even refer in our house), but dammit, I got good.  And the hubs knew it.

One day, about a year after our son was born, we went to visit my side of the family.  We were all sitting at the kitchen table, gnawing our way through a pizza Dad had bought for us, when my brother-in-law turned to my hubs with a smartass grin on his face and said, “So, are you getting some pretty gourmet stuff cooked up for you at home?” 

I stopped chewing for a second because I needed to hear what the hubs’s response was.  I worked hard on those dinners, dammit, and even though it had been my idea to cook them, I didn’t do it for me.  I’d be just as happy eating—you guessed it—Swedish meatballs every day for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. 

I waited for my husband to regale my family with stories about my new skillz:  Stuffed peppers, chicken and broccoli fettuccine, and, okay, maybe some cheeseburger macaroni every once in a while.

Instead, my husband, always the cool guy, rolled his eyes and said, “Yeah, right.  Gross.”

He immediately realized his error.  My eyebrows shot up so high that they hit my hairline.  My mouth fell open.  I dropped my pizza.  And if there’s one thing that many people know about me, it’s that I don’t drop my food—unless it’s straight into my fat mouth.

“I mean—seriously, though, the stuff is pretty good—" my husband backpedaled after he took in, with horror-stricken eyes, the fallen pizza.  But it was too late.  The damage was done.

Still, I played the part of happy houseskank (which is not a term I use for all stay-at-home moms, of course, but we found it quite fitting for me), laughing it up with all of the other familial assholes until my husband excused himself to go to the bathroom.  (Look at me, acting like we’re all classy.  “Excused himself to go to the bathroom” sounded like this:  “See you in a minute, assclowns.  I’ve got to go drop a turd.”)

I met him at the bathroom door.

“Listen, assface,” I said in a menacingly low whisper as I grabbed his shirt collar and pulled him toward me.  “It’s frozen pizza for dinner from now on.  Every godforsaken day.  Fcking frozen pizza.”

Let me be honest here, folks:  It’s not like my stuff is much better than frozen pizza.  My tater tot casserole might be one step up (okay, half a step), so I had to keep going in order to scare the hubs a little bit.  “And they won’t be the fancy take-and-bakes from Wal-Mart.  I’m talking Mama Cozzi  frozen pizzas from Aldi—the kind with the little square chunks of meat instead of the real pepperonis.” 

When I let him pull away from my grip, he was actually shaking.  And when he went back to the kitchen to join the rest of the family once more, my brother-in-law tried to crack another joke at my cooking’s expense.  (Don’t think ill of my bro-in-law; it’s just how we all relate.  We are who we are, my peeps.)

My husband’s response?  A very enthusiastic, “Actually, her stuff is quite good.”

I didn’t have time to puzzle over when my husband had acquired a British accent because I was so damned excited that it had worked.  It worked!

As my brother-in-law looked from the hubs to me and back in stunned silence, all I could think about was how smart I was, how wonderful my dinners tasted, and how much I loved my new British husband.

As always, for more tips on how to build a healthy, happy marriage, look for my upcoming blog, tentatively entitled, “You’re in the Wrong Spot, Bitches. We Have No Fcking Clue.”

And for actual easy, real recipes that don’t taste half bad (alright, except for the Spaghetti Hot Dog one, but that’s Pinterest’s fault, not mine), head to my Trashy Recipe Recommendations page.

 Have a great weekend!


  1. Katie from St. LouisJanuary 31, 2014 at 7:48 AM

    What's wrong with Mama Cozzi?! That's one of the best things Aldi has - my favorite kind of frozen pizza! (Although, my mom worked there for years so growing up we didn't realize there were grocery stores OTHER THAN Aldi.... well played, Mom!)

    1. I KNEW I would get shit for the Mama Cozzi's bit--and I should've known it would be from you! Haha. I love Aldi, but I don't love Mama Cozzi pizza. Sorry, Katie. :)

    2. I agree, mama cici's is great !! Jk, Shay, just fucking with you. (but seriously, one houseskank to anotha, mama cici's whole wheat pepperoni is tha jam!)

    3. I don't know that I've heard of Mama Cici's! Seriously, my palate is the extreme oppositve of sophisticated, but I would definitely rather have a Tombstone or a Tony's over a Mama Cozzi's. Look at me, all high-class.

  2. Hahaha I loved this, Shay. My hubs used to complain about the lunches I packed for him, so every day for a week straight I packed him the same, awful stuff: A hard, plain roll, a sleeve of saltine crackers and a small ziploc bag filled with pretzels. He has never complained again.

    1. Ha ha, nice!!

    2. He's lucky you didn't throw some corn poop in there, Marcia!

  3. Oh Shay! I feel you on the badly cooked "meals." I have served up some really burnt fish, undercooked rice and Kale sauteed with all the wrong ingredients and we all suffer through it! Your British husband sounds like he saved himself just in time. You always put a smile on my face with your "trash." Looking forward to the new blog...

  4. Stuffed peppers? Impressive! I also hate cooking but it IS better than any of the crappy cubicle jobs I've ever had. The good news is my husband lived on Ramen and peanuts for years before me, so his standards are low. He & my son are happy with their Mama Cozzis. Those things are $2 and with teenagers, why spend more?! (the "meat" is pretty yucky though.)
    I hope your limey lovey is telling everyone how brilliant your food is.

    1. He tells me now, Joy. :) And if he doesn't like what I'm planning to cook (I'm a total Type A planner, pretty much to the point of annoying), he will plan to cook something else that night. Then I just take the night off and surprise him with the food some other night...which totally isn't the point, but it works for me. :)

  5. HAHA I wish I could have been your and Nick's roommate! That would have been awesome watching you learn to brown the beef for the first time. Ha. My mom was mean and made me help her when I was young so I actually do know how to brown beef although I pretty much never do it. Your New British Husband sounds like a keeper!
    And this part? BRILLIANT: As always, for more tips on how to build a healthy, happy marriage, look for my upcoming blog, tentatively entitled, “You’re in the Wrong Spot, Bitches. We Have No Fcking Clue.”

    1. It was pretty funny, actually. There were 5 of us growing up, so Mom and Dad threw together pretty quick, easy, cheap stuff. And then after they divorced, Dad went whole hog on the family-sized frozen dinners. It's not my fault I didn't know how to cook--it's theirs! Haha

    2. But I have to say that we were always fed well and we loved the food. And it helped me in the long run b/c now I'll eat ANYTHING. So I'll never starve because I won't be opposed to chomping down a grasshopper or some shit. :)

  6. This was fcking riveting! ...and hilarious too ;)

  7. This was soooo funny, Shay! Especially all of the verbal and non-verbal sparring between you and Nick. I can cook just fine but girls at work like to bring me their leftovers to try sometimes and I NEVER bitch about what they bring or how it tastes. Because, I'm not going to disrupt any free meals. Never piss off the cook or it can easily be the last time lol. Good post :)

    1. You've got it figured out, Mike! Haha. Thanks for stopping by.

  8. The British are so much more polite than Americans, aren't they? I'm going to make my family start talking with an accent; maybe they'll get nicer.

    1. I think I'll do the same, Dana! We'll compare notes later.

  9. OH MY GOD I think I love you!

    You're hysterical and your sense of humor rocks my world! Love me a funny, smart, lady blogger who can't (scratch that. CAN) cook worth a crap!

    .....still grinning.....

    1. I think I love you even more for this comment! Thank you!!

  10. ***My husband’s response? A very enthusiastic, “Actually, her stuff is quite good.”

    I didn’t have time to puzzle over when my husband had acquired a British accent because I was so damned excited that it had worked. It worked!**

    SUPERB! Hilarious!

    Btw, my hubs is British. It doesn't work anymore! Haaa xx

  11. You are the funniest! You should get a job as a stand up comedian or a spot on Saturday Night Live!!

  12. I cannot WAIT for "You're in the Wrong Spot, Bitches". I don't know why, but your post reminded me of a story about a friend of mine's mom and dad. The dad was color blind, so mom laid out his clothes everyday. She said she could always tell when her parents had had a fight, b/c her father would be dressed like a jackass that day. I'm not sure this has all that much to do with your post, but I thought you might like this story. Your welcome! ;) I am totally jealous of the British accent.