food porn for one

I take a fair amount of teasing from my girlfriends here in Australia.

“Amy, what’s Doug making for dinner tonight?”

“Stone crab.”

“Poor Amy.”

And last time Doug took a trip away, one of them invited me over a few times because she was rather convinced I don’t know how to cook. It’s not the first time in my life I’ve convinced other people I cannot cook so that they will feed me delicious food. But alas, I can cook. I just gave it up when I met Doug because I was terrified of killing us by cross-contaminating or undercooking our food. And now I’m out of practice.

On one of our first dates, I invited Doug to my house for dinner and a movie. After I get to a certain level of hungry, I can no longer think. And as we weighed options for ordering take out, I hit that point. I finally blurted out, “Let’s go to the grocery store and just buy some steak and salad.” Doug says that’s what won him over.

steakforoneTonight Sorenne-the-Ravenous only wanted to eat a sandwich, but after too many frozen chicken thingies and wondering why Australians don’t say whether the chicken is pre-cooked or raw, I needed some real food. Broiled porterhouse steak cooked to an internal temperature of 150F and left to rest while the temperature rose slightly, rosemary and sea salt chips, English cucumber and 4 leaf salad with cherry tomatoes, balsamic and olive oil. Yum. But a lonely dinner for one.

Two weeks in Australia, still no meat thermometer

I used to cook. And then I met Doug. And all the food safety that I quickly learned scared me.

It’s no secret that Doug does all the cooking in our family. So now that Sorenne and I are in Australia patiently awaiting his arrival, I’ve cooked several frightening meals. I have no way of knowing if the chicken, sausage, or beef are going to kill us. I’ve looked for meat thermometers rather seriously at different major stores here and the only one I’ve seen was at Target – a ridiculously large round display on top of a probe. Think American turkey thermometer that comes out only at Thanksgiving and magnify the size by about 5. I tried again at Coles tonight… nada.

For dinner tonight I opted for pre-made raw meatballs to accompany the linguine because having a small child around is not conducive to getting up to your elbows in meat (especially when she’s screaming, “Mooooooom! Milk!”). I did my best to make a well-done meatball (I mean, who doesn’t love crispy meatballs), but how are mere mortals supposed to see if something’s cooked just by using our naked eyeballs?

Come on, Australia. Food safety is not just an American thing. I’m tired of worrying whether I’ll kill our 2 ½ year old over dinner. And I miss my favorite food safety expert’s voice in my ear reminding me to use a meat thermometer.