Big chuck still working on this grocery shopping thing columns thedailystar.com can turkey bacon be cooked in the oven

It’s been problematic getting used to the kitchen, the utensils and the whole protocol of cooking. What is a bundt pan? How do you use a garlic mincer? And why does the flour seem to explode all over the place whenever I open it? All are mysteries I am slowly unraveling.

I had a series of failures early in my journey. My ham and cheese triple garlic loaf was a mess. My italian cucumber submarine with mozzarella and prosciutto would have made my dear old grandmother weep. In sadness. And my little fruit and chocolate baklavas were, well, unrecognizable. Still, I soldiered on.

Eventually I started to get more comfortable in the kitchen and more familiar with where everything was and what everything does. Now, I am actually enjoying my kitchen nights. My crusty chicken with roasted vegetables was a big hit. My pasta e faggioli saved my italian DNA from being totally embarrassed.


And my big chuck’s lobster mac and cheese would do any seaside shack menu proud.Almond milk

The shopping, on the other hand, is still troublesome. Who lays out these gigantic supermarkets? The same guy who sets up the funny mirrors at the otsego county fair? Things just don’t make any sense to me. Why is the almond milk not in the milk section? “oh, no, big chuck. The almond milk is in the natural foods department.” whatever.

And why can’t you buy just three strips of bacon? And what the heck is self-rising flour? What is the difference between regular old bread crumbs and panko bread crumbs? And where is the refrigerated bread dough? It is not in the bakery section. It is not in dairy. It is not in the frozen food aisle. It is off in its own little sanctuary, hidden from public view. I am learning, and believe me, the aisle directories hanging from the ceiling are my savior. I only wish I found them early into my resolution and not just two weeks ago.

So, triumphs? For sure. Pitfalls? Many, but getting fewer and fewer. Still, the experience I had on my first shopping trip for my first meal in the first week of january is still fresh in my mind.Pork chops

I prepared my first-ever ingredient list just as the online recipe instructed me. And off I went to grocery world to shop. I piled my cart high with the seven ingredients and other items I just had to have. I mean, the packaging was so attractive! The total came to $55. For one meal. For two people. That changed quickly.

My first meal was a chicken dish and I bought a package of boneless chicken breasts that day. After handing over $55, I loaded everything into the car and went home to prepare the feast. I unloaded everything on the counter and sorted out the ingredients. Wait a minute. Where is the chicken? I had left it at the store. Twenty miles away. Forget it. I changed the menu. The thought of those chicken breasts slowly revolving around the cashier’s carousel alone, orphaned, abandoned still haunts me.

I mentioned this to trish when she came home. “don’t worry. It happens to all of us,” she said. I vowed that it would never happen to me again.Almond milk

As I write this I am about to go into the kitchen to prepare this week’s meal. It consists of pork chops with a lime juice glaze and parmesan cauliflower florets. The counter is full. Big head of white cauliflower? Check. Gorgeous bag of bright green limes? Check. Fresh grated parmesan cheese? Check. Handpicked cremini mushrooms for the sauce? Check. Three prime cut pork chops from the butcher department? Pork chops? Wait, where the heck are the pork chops? Oh, no!

“big chuck” D’imperio can be heard on weekdays beginning at 6 a.M. On WDOS-AM 730 in oneonta, and also on thursday nights from 7-9 p.M. On WSRK-FM 103.9 for his “oldies jukebox show.” you can find “big chuck” on facebook under upstate new york books. He invites you to contact him at wdosbigchuck@aol.Com. His columns can be found at www.Thedailystar.Com/opinion/columns/.