One Fish, Two Fish, Totally Gross Fish

If only mine were as comforting

Last night was the second night in a row I have ruined dinner.

I am accepting any and all sympathies.

The other night it was Harvest Paella gone awry. No pun intended, because there is absolutely nothing humorous about ruining a perfectly good meal. I literally woke up the next morning with hunger pains in my stomach for lack of dinner. I guess chocolate chip cookies are not that filling, after all.

My sister has made this rice dish before and I don’t remember it tasting like rotten cardboard. But that is what mine tasted like. The worst part is I can’t figure out what I did wrong. Either it was too much turmeric or dried basil gone bad–if that is even possible. But something was seriously wrong. I’m pretty sure food is not supposed to taste like that.

It was, in fact, so bad that my dog wouldn’t even eat it. Some fell on the floor (imagine that) and she came bounding over like she usually does eager to lick up any crumbs that fall her way. But after a 30 second perusally sniff over the rice, she decided that trash would be a much more enjoyable dinner. I mean really, the dog that has eaten her own vomit turned up her nose at our dinner. That’s how bad it was.

Last night it was fish. Yet another recipe I am familiar with. This one I have made several times before. It’s a favorite. It’s called My Mama’s Baked Fish, by Rachel Ray.

Before I go any further, let me just say that I am not a huge Rachel Ray fan. The 30 minute meals never really worked for me. They were always like 45 minute catastrophes, requiring me to stand at the stove whisking chicken stock and something else while chopping fresh basil and sautéing mushrooms in EVOO. They usually ended in tears. And it wasn’t because I didn’t like mushrooms.

That was about six years ago. My cooking skills have improved a little, to the point where I no longer cry after unsuccessful attempts, usually don’t burn food, and occasionally use ingredients like chicken stock, heavy cream, and fresh cilantro. Still, I am not overly confident in my cooking abilities.

Lately, I’ve been feeling bad about my lack of culinary greatness, or more accurately the lack of culinary anything happening in my kitchen. So, I have been trying to cook more frequently to expand my treasure trove of great family recipes…and to keep my family from starving.

However, with two toddlers standing at the stove for 30 minutes (nay, 10 minutes) frying chicken and chopping seven different herbs, just isn’t going to happen.

Actually, it may even be known by the state of California as some form of neglect.

For the health and safety of my children, I need Paula Dean to give me three ingredients, a 9 x 13 baking dish, and tell me to shove it in the oven for 45 minutes. Better yet, give me a crock pot.  That is my kind of cooking.

But getting back to the fish.  Like I mentioned, I have made this recipe before. It is one of my favorites. Classic, simple, and very tasty. It is from Rachel’s Comfort Foods cookbook, one I actually use. Not quite the three ingredient kind of cook book, but close enough, and about as new and far out as I am willing to venture these days.

With this recipe, I have always used Halibut or Tilapia. But this time, in order to save a few almighty dollars (actually, it was probably more like $0.75), I bought a bag of frozen Perch.

I know, I know the whole spiel about buying fresh versus frozen, but I don’t think that was my problem. My problem was PERCH. Ew, Perch.

I do not like this fish. I found out the hard way, all white fish are not created equal. The fish was soggy and slimy and had some sort of thin red scales still on its backside. It was mushy and gross.

To top it off, I burnt the toast and managed to overcook the “steam in the bag” broccoli I bought. (In my defense, the instructions said cook for 4 to 7 1/2 minutes…um that’s a pretty big time gap.)

It was complete and utter failure.

Tonight, we are going out for dinner. I couldn’t be more thankful. My kids, my husband, and my dog probably are too.

16 thoughts on “One Fish, Two Fish, Totally Gross Fish

  1. ruthcm says:

    Funny blog! Don’t give up Brooke. I agree, casseroles and crockpot meals are good for busy Moms! you can make them early in the day, and you don’t have to be cooking during that tired and whiny time of day…4pm. Some countries have actually dealt with this time of day by making naps official or making a ritual over drinking caffeine. 🙂 Anyway, glad to see the cooking fiascos didn’t harm your wonderful sense of humor…
    ..known to the State of California… ha ha ha.

    Love, Mom

  2. happykidshappymom says:

    Ha! Love this line, “It was, in fact, so bad that my dog wouldn’t even eat it.” And in your defense, I agree. The 4 – 7.5 minute time frame is too vague! 🙂

    Have I told you about my string of ruined dinners last February? After so many awful meals, one night I put dinner on the table, my soon took a bite, his eyes lit up, and he exclaimed, “I can’t even hear my stomach burning!”


    • Butterfingers for Breakfast says:

      Oh my goodness that is hilarious! hahaha. I know, my kids seldom eat even when I cook something that was good, so I didn’t even want them to try it hardly, because then they would certainly never eat anything I give them again!! I am glad you can sympathize 🙂

  3. Rachael says:

    I’m not a cook either, but trying to improve as well. Have you heard of Pioneer Woman? She has lots of good recipes step by step online, some are easier than others, but I’ve been successful with a couple of things (Chicken Cacciatori, Chili…).

    At least Chick Fil A is always delicious!!!!

    • Butterfingers for Breakfast says:

      Okay, and Rachael what is the link to your blog again? You have to link it to your name! I’ve totally forgotten it but I want to visit your blog! I even tried searching but can’t find you! Where in the world is Rachael Becker!? Hope you see this 🙂

      • RachaelB says:

        Hi! I haven’t been blogging much lately, but you can find me at Make sure Rachael is spelled correctly, sometimes that trips people up. 🙂 I need to write some more!

  4. Butterfingers for Breakfast says:

    Yes, the Pioneer Woman is like Super Woman. She intimidates me with all her cooking, but i suppose she does have some good easy recipes I can do. I remember her recipe for iced coffee 🙂 And you hit the nail on the head, Chick-fil-A is always delicious! Glad we are both in this together!!

  5. writingfeemail says:

    Well – Butterfingers – better luck next time with the fish – but the story of the attempt is priceless. As for Rachel Ray, I totally thank you for the validation. Most of her meals are simply hamburger helper with different herbs. They just don’t inspire me.

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