Hamburger Helpless

Discussion in 'Community Discussion' started by jsw, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #1
    In an attempt to start prying some of the community away from some fairly emotional happenings, I thought it'd be fun to post about my experience preparing dinner for my daughter two nights ago.

    My wife is an RN (labor and delivery) and often works a 3-11PM shift, meaning I'm often home taking care of my 5-year-old and 4.5-month-old daughters.

    Sometimes, she doesn't tell me what to do about dinner. Those are the best days, because they mean I either get to warm up leftovers (very quick!) or go to a drive-thru (free toy!). Other days, she tells me what to make. Well, "suggests" might be a better word... but it's less accurate. ;) Monday, she set out a box of Hamburger Helper and... suggested I make it.

    I said "no problem" because, really, if they tried, most single-cell organisms have the brain power required to make Hamburger Helper. Its whole raison d'être is to make meal preparation easy.

    Well, apparently, not for me.

    The first step with this recipe, and, I suspect, for all Hamburger Helpers, is to brown the hamburger. I have browned hamburger before. I've even, stunningly, made entire meals from scratch (back before I was married). I used to be able to cook and bake and feed myself, which included browning hamburger.

    Monday, though, I found out just how far I'd regressed. The first part went well... I put the pan on the stove, added the hamburger, and started to brown it (yes, I broke it up and didn't just cook a giant lump of burger).

    At this point, I feel it's important to note that we do not have gas to our house and so have an electric stovetop (which was there when we bought the house). It's one of those which are completely flat with imbedded heating elements (smooth glass surface). I hate electric cooking, but anyway... the stovetop will come into play shortly.

    So... the burger's browning. Thinking ahead, I open the packets in the hamburger helper. Rice, sauce mix, cheese mix for topping, taco chips. I get the required 2.25 cups of hot water heated in the microwave. Man, am I ever efficient.

    Now, of course, when browning hamburger, you need to stir it occasionally, breaking up pieces, etc. I was stirring with a spatula. Yes, of course, something metal or wood would work better, but the spatula was handy. Then... the baby started fussing, so off I went to calm her down. In the meantime, the spatula, which I'd left in the pan, melted. Oh well. Never liked it anyway.

    I then realized I needed something for the grease. The only thing I saw handy was a can of powdered baby formula, so I emptied the remaining formula into another canister.. or tried to. The stuff is a bit self-adhering and came out in a big clump, half of which ended up on the counter and/or the floor.

    So I cleaned that up, got the can ready, even made an aluminum foil "funnel" to keep all the grease from flowing out, and got ready to pour in the liquids.

    What I hadn't realized is that my wife bought meat which was apparently from cows on the Atkin's diet, as it was, I think, 100% fat free. Holding up the pan, lid covering the burger, I managed to get approximately one drop of liquid into the container. That's it. One drop. Well, maybe two. But really, there was no reason to have prepped a grease container in the first place.

    But, not being one to leave well enough alone, I tried to get more grease out, holding the pan up for a bit longer... until the lid slipped up and half the hamburger poured into the container and onto the (just cleaned) countertop.

    Joy. So, I cleaned up the burger, pouring it back into the pan. As the counter was clean, it all went back in, and that drop of grease that had managed to eke its way into the container? Back in with the burger.

    I then added the water and rice and sauce mix and covered the pan, as per instructions. I even remembered to set the timer. And I remembered to stir occasionally. On my third stirring, the baby once again made her presence known, so, mid-stirring, I set the pan lid onto the stovetop and went to calm her down.

    When I got back, the steam under the lid had cooled and condensed, creating a partial vacuum and adhering the lid to the (now known by all to be flat glass) stovetop. It was stuck! So I used another lid on the pan and then proceeded to pry the original lid off the stovetop, and in the process managed to knock over the opened bag of taco chips (yeah, who saw that coming...), half of which fell to the floor and were instantly hoovered up by our golden retriever.

    Then, finally, the dish was cooked. All that was left was to add the taco ships and the cheese sauce. Except, I realized, I was supposed to have mixed the cheese sauce with milk and let it sit while the meal was cooking. Oops! So I poured milk into a measuring cup and dumped in the cheese sauce mix. I should point out that we have those OXO measuring cups, which have an angled measuring surface inside the cup, making it virtually impossible to actually mix anything in it.

    Hence, the cheese "sauce" was actually lumpy cheese mix and milk.

    While I'm sure this surprises all of you, my daughter didn't like it. Not the lumpy cheese - she'll eat cheese of any sort - but the mix itself was too "peppery" (to her, anything remotely spicy is "peppery"). So... I heated up leftovers from the night before, and, two minutes later, she was happy. And I got to eat the meal I'd so lovingly prepared.
     
  2. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #2
    Thanks for posting that...

    I always see Hamburger Helper commercials and other related items and always secretly thought to my cooking-handicapped-self that it couldn't be that easy. ;) Now I know-- it really isn't.
     
  3. macartistkel macrumors 6502a

    macartistkel

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #3
    Well first of all I have NEVER eaten Hamburger helper. And I will NEVER eat it or fix it for my kids (they will be raised vegetarian until THEY are old enough to know what they are eating and can decide for themselves if they want to eat animals)......anyway, the point I was trying to make is at least you tried!! :p But I would have stopped after the first mishap!! I HATE TO COOK anyway. ;)
     
  4. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #4
    yikes! how old are your kids!?

    poor little guys... have to show up to cookouts and bar-b-q's and eat tofu and carrots? :(

    ;) :D
     
  5. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #5
    Funny, when I was younger I hated meat and loved veggies; my older sister was the opposite so when our mom's back was turned we'd quickly swap items. :D
     
  6. m-dogg macrumors 65816

    m-dogg

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2004
    Location:
    Connecticut
    #6
    That was amusing. I think I would have said "Who wants pizza?" about 1/2 through that process and had something delivered! :D
     
  7. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #7
    I like Stroganoff Hamburger Helper with a dose of real sour cream.

    Can't eat that crap anymore, though. :(

    I thoroughly (and laughed out loud) at your story.
     
  8. macartistkel macrumors 6502a

    macartistkel

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #8
    I don't have children yet....but that is my take on things because no one explained to me what the **** I was eating back when I was biting into a hot dogs, etc. :eek: .....around the age of 8 I started to realize how disgusting meat was.

    And BTW I LOVE TOFU!! :)
     
  9. macartistkel macrumors 6502a

    macartistkel

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #9
    Yes! :p When in doubt there is always PIZZA!! :)
     
  10. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #10
    i can respect that... but is it tough for them to get all the right vitamins if you're cutting out part of the diet like that?

    the only time i can eat tofu is when it's in chinese food... and by then it's so unhealthy that its usually lost its purpose :D
     
  11. iGary Guest

    iGary

    Joined:
    May 26, 2004
    Location:
    Randy's House
    #11
    I like tofu in my miso soup, but that is about it. I have really tried to like it - really, I have, but when it comes down to it, I just buy the leanest cuts of meat I can and get my soy protein in a morning and evening shake.

    The husband is gonna be late tonight. Maybe I can sneak myself some Hamburger Helper.

    Is that sick or what? This diet has reduced me to craving a Bett Crocker Product. :confused: :eek:
     
  12. macartistkel macrumors 6502a

    macartistkel

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2005
    Location:
    Portland, Oregon
    #12
    Well I take some insane amounts of vitamins and I have always been very healthy!! ;) And I also love tofu in chinese food like the hot and sour soup and tofu w/ mixed vegetables!! YUM!! I might have to get that later!! :)
     
  13. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #13
    Well, I can see why your daughter may not have appreciated the flavor, if she doesn't like spice. What was this, "Mexican Helper" or something? Rice and taco chips sounds like an odd combination in what is essentially a "burger casserole."

    Still, it's a good thing no one was nearby while I was reading this. I couldn't stop laughing at the mental image of this.
     
  14. freeny macrumors 68020

    freeny

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Location:
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    #14
    Feel sorry for your kids.:( Im pretty sure this additude is also forced upon them in other aspects of your family life. Reminds me of my mother....
     
  15. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    #15
    Hey! It's not all that unhealthy... pishaw... you didn't grow up w/ my mommie's cooking. :D Really, not all Chinese food is unhealthy-- I even recall some article in Time or something talking about how some scientists were researching certain regions of China because there was essentially no incidences of cancer until Western style foods were introduced. :eek: For the record, more and more Chinese restaurants are leaving out MSG (and just about all will not add it if you request so) and I don't know any Asian people personally who cook w/ MSG at home.
     
  16. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #16
    hahaha- i know!!

    but the kind of chinese food that i like is! (super unhealthy that is ;) :D )
     
  17. kainjow Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2000
    #17
    I cook Hamburger Helper (and generic Aldi version too!) quite often actually, and all for myself - I snarf the entire box down... mmm so healthly ;) The one thing that makes me mad is I can never get the beef unchunky.. it's always lumpy and ticks me off :p
     
  18. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #18
    Whoa. Isn't it the parent's right to do what they feel is best for their children? If she feels that being a vegetarian is the best health choice for her children, then all the power to her to promote that. Same as if I think my kids shouldn't sugar-load, I limit the amount of candy they eat.

    Why is it any better that you "force" your kids to eat meat (especially something like Hamburger Helper ;))?
     
  19. kainjow Moderator emeritus

    kainjow

    Joined:
    Jun 15, 2000
    #19
    It's soo much healthier to eat vegetables and not meat. It's just not as fun ;) Often when I go out I'll get a vegetable meal.. they are quite tasty and very light. Combined with a water instead of pop (soda) you can treat yourself to a huge dessert afterwards :D
     
  20. MongoTheGeek macrumors 68040

    MongoTheGeek

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2003
    Location:
    Its not so much where you are as when you are.
    #20
    I've had Hamburger helper maybe once. I never got it as a kid and hence as an adult I didn't know how to cook the damn stuff. It took me years of trying to master easy mac. I could do it from scratch, the instant stuff defied me though.

    My experience with Hamburger Helper was my wife bringing it home from the store and saying "Make this..."

    I am the primary cook in the house and the thing that gets my goat is when I ask "What do you want for dinner?" and I get back "I don't know."

    I've threatened to just grab random things toss it in a pot and then cook and serve. When I am asked "What the hell is this." the answer will be "What you asked for... I don't know"
     
  21. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Location:
    serendipity
    #21
    haha. great story jsw

    when you were talking about the grease dripping i was thinking to myself "that's why you gotta use soy ground meat instead" and then of course the vegetarian kids debate comes up... ironic.

    gwu- think about it, if you'd grown up eating ______ instead of meat, you'd like it all the same. it's just what we become accustomed to. to each their own.
     
  22. jsw thread starter Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #22
    It was some Taco Helper or something... Burrito Helper? Nachos Helper? Dunno. I never looked at the front of the box. :eek:

    And it wasn't actually spicy at all. She just wasn't in the mood for it, hence it was "too peppery." :)
     
  23. emw macrumors G4

    emw

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2004
    #23
    Ah, yes, probably diluted by the melted spatula. :p
     
  24. freeny macrumors 68020

    freeny

    Joined:
    Sep 27, 2005
    Location:
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    #24
    Not true. Eating a strict diet of veggies is pretty limiting itself. I offer my son alot of different foods and if he doesnt like it he doesnt have to eat it. among things he doesnt like to eat- hot dogs and pork chops, and of course he wont be forced to eat it. I believe forcing your child to a strict veggie diet is a pretty narrow additude and is leaving out a whole bunch of proteins, nutrients etc. MEAT WONT KILL YOU OR YOUR CHILD! My roomate in college was a vegan, and after thier weight dropped to a dangerous level from this diet was "Highly advised to eat meat by thier doctor or they could die". I have been a parent for several years and am smart enough to know not to tell another parent how to raise thier child nor did I attempt to do this. In my opinion, only in the situation that a child NEEDS a strict diet for medical reasons should they be forced into it. I just feel that ANY narrow minded approach is exactly that, narrow minded.

    As far as the referance to my mother, well that was just personal stab:D
     
  25. jelloshotsrule macrumors G3

    jelloshotsrule

    Joined:
    Feb 7, 2002
    Location:
    serendipity
    #25
    who said anything about eating only VEGGIES???

    believe it or not, vegetarians eat a lot of different things, that can provide them with enough protein, iron, vitamins, etc.

    the point is, your focus on vegetarianism as narrow minded is narrow in scope in itself.... vegetarianism (and veganism) can be healthy if done properly. just as eating meat can be.

    that said, i choose not to support the meat industry as it stands in this country, and unless doctors tell me otherwise, i will raise my kids without meat until they are old enough to decide on their own (assuming i ever have kids)
     

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