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Cooking Fears

Few things in life stress me out.

Actually I just said that for laughs. Anybody who has been around me for more than 5 minutes is well aware that I get stressed out easily.

Which is why I laughed yesterday when the Dr. told me I had a lot of tension in my shoulders and neck and wanted to know if I ever get stressed about anything.

I literally laughed out loud.

Well as I have mentioned before I have started cooking a lot more since I got married. And for the most part I like it. Even if I have had a few mishaps, such as the sausage balls incident. (which the verdict is still out as to whether I was wrong or not)

One thing I have never mentioned is that, before I got married I had never browned meat.

Never in my life.

I had watched my mom do it more times than I can even count, but I had never taken part in the actual browning.

So for whatever reason, browning meat completely stresses me out and causes me to have mild panic attacks.

There have been known incidents of me breaking out in tears in the kitchen and having to be 'sent to my room' to calm down so that my lovely husband can complete the task himself.

I am not a good decision maker, and having to decide whether the meat 'looks' done causes me to go into a tizzy.

I mean what the heck classifies meat as done?

I know, I know, NOT PINK, but my friends, it is not that easy.

This morning Luke and I decided that we were going to have Mexican enchiladas for dinner (which, as two people who complain about gaining weight, I can honestly say we eat those waaaaay too often, but they are so dang good).

He then informed me that he would be home late because he had worship band practice.

I could feel my heart rate gaining speed, my blood pressure start to rise, and my legs started to feel weak.

I tried to regain my composure and very calmly asked him "you mean I have to brown the meat all by myself???"

That was when he told me that after 11 months of marriage my meat paranoia was no longer cute but actually it was starting to get a bit annoying.

Maybe I am causing him to lose his hair?

Anyways, I seriously thought all day about the meat that I had waiting for me and continued to assure myself that I would be ok and there was no need to freak out.

After work, I came home and very calmly put the meat in the pan and started heating it up.

I was on a roll, everything was going good.

And then I lost it.

I don't know when or how it happened but somewhere between raw meat and black meat that resembles popcorn kernels I completely and utterly lost it.

There was no crying, but there was freaking out.

In the middle of the cooking I thought my meat looked done, but for fear of poisoning myself and my hubby I took a piece of meat, broke it up, took a picture of it with my phone, and emailed it to my mom.

I then called her and told her to check her mail and asked her if she thought the meat looked done.

To which she responded, "What kind of meat is that"

iPhones can be used to help guide you to a destination, help connect you to the world through facebook and twitter apps, and according to the commercials even help find you an apartment to live in, but iPhones should never be used to help classify whether a meat is fully cooked over a hundred some-odd miles.

I tried to explain to my mom what the meat looked liked, then she told me that I am really weird about meat and its probably fine.

I may or may not have completely freaked out at that time and cooked my meat to the point that some may call burnt but I like to call: Now-I-Know-For-Sure-Its-Done.

I have eaten burnt meat so much I have actually forgotten what non-burnt hamburger meat tastes like.

You mean hamburger meat isn't supposed to be crunchy?

So, at the risk of hearing crickets chirp at the end of this post I am asking, does anybody else have a crazy fear of browning meat? Or anything else related to cooking? Perhaps boiling eggs startles you to no end.

Don't think I didn't call my mom like 3 times the first time I boiled eggs.

It was so nerve-wracking.

And don't even get me started on chicken. That poultry could very well send me to the crazy home.

Can anybody relate?



  1. Remember, unless you put the meat in the fridge it will continue to cook when you take it off the stove.

  2. I too have meat-browning anxiety, but not quite to the point you do. I'm always worried I will not cook it long enough and miss some freak bacteria that is going to give Right Side and I food poisoning. I do most of my cooking in the crock pot now, which actually helps with this fear. Some recipes call to brown the meat first, then add it to the other ingredients in the crock pot. I like this, because I figure if some rouge bacteria isn't killed off in the frying pan, surely it will die a slow cooker death in the crock pot. In the future, you MAY want to decrease your cooking time so you don't end up with blackened meat. Maybe just back off the cook time a little each time so you can prove to yourself that even though it's not burnt, it's still done.

  3. I can relate to chicken! I think that if it is juicy... it is raw. I HATE the feel of juices. Yuck! So my hubby complains that I like things too dry. But at least I am not killing him with botulism, right?

  4. I totally have chicken cooking fears! Everything that may have come within five feet of the raw chicken gets cleaned and cleaned and cleaned in boiling hot water and then I put it into the dishwasher to be safe. And that is just the cleaning up. I cook it until it could not possibly be juicy or moist.

    This disappoints me because I would prefer to eat chicken to most other meats. Many a time I have resorted to the pre-cooked suitcase chickens at the grocery store just so I can avoid ever touching raw chicken.

  5. I am very nervous when the day comes that I will be cooking anything for someone else. What if they don't like it or I mess the whole thing up? The joys of becoming an adult !


  6. you make me laugh!!! I used to hate to brown meat too especially early on in marriage, 10 years next month. Oh and I just called my mom at Easter and asked how long to boil eggs for!! Hang in there, it gets easier!!

  7. Yes! I call my mom all the time with questions like "I put the chicken in the oven for 45 minutes is it done?" How in the world is she supposed to know???!!?? And, I can't boil eggs. I've tried. Many times. Can't get it to work.

  8. OH my gosh...I'm CRACKING up!! I call C in here EVERYTIME (you know...all 4) I've had to brown meat. And...I just buy the already cooked chicken...LOL...shameful...YEAH!! Then I just dice or chop it up and voila...I "cooked". You should see me after I clean up eggs....I seriously antibacterial spray the WHOLE kitchen. But...I'm fine with eating raw cookie dough?

  9. Megan,you're so funny.

    Okay..I'm just like you sometimes.I mean I can't even estimate the time for boiling eggs/salted eggs.
    Mee too,keep on calling back to my mum asking how much times need to cook this or that.
    But I knew,pratice make perfect!

  10. You make me laugh!!! I don't have a fear of cooking the meat, but sometimes I get completely grossed out while doing so!... Don't know why!

  11. I used to be terrified of giving someone food poisoning with something I cooked. I remember adding gum drops to cookies when I was young (6 or 7) as an addition to the recipe and I got all freaked out afterwards because I thought maybe there was some crazy combination of ingredients in there that would make someone sick. Nuts!

    I've gotten a lot better but I (like many commenters before me) still don't like juicy chicken. Dry it out baby, then it's delicious.

  12. Haha this is hysterical. Well remember this...beef should be the least scary. Think of it this way: people order medium and medium rare hamburgers at restaurants all the time and are fine. So beef is generally fairly safe at levels less than "well done" :) Chicken, though, that is another story...

  13. I don't like cooking chicken - I think it's way too slimy and can make you I disinfect like a crazy person, wash my hands a billion times, and sometimes dry out the chicken because I've cooked it too long.

    Pork - as in pork chops - I have issues with too. I'm never sure if it's completely done.

  14. I seriously panic over boiling eggs because one time I was trying to make hard boiled eggs and when I peeled them and cut them open they were still runny....ewwww!!

  15. Im pretty okay with browning meat...but chicken, oh girl- don't even get me started. Is there supposed to be a certain shade of white- is it supposed to be dry or juicy? Who I do the same and cook it to the I-know-for-sure-its done. Forget about taste. =)

  16. I'm going to get you a meat thermometer the next time I go to the store. This is one area of your life you can totally conquer!

    I'm going to sign my comments with "Mel" so you know it's me, Melanie Lawrence.

    I love you!


  17. I am very funny about meat. I think I always throw out good meat just beacause I think it has gone bad. I really do not know what bad meat looks like. I just assume that I will probably die from it and throw it out. I freaked out the first time I made chicken. I never ate it because I was too scared it wasnt done. I understand!

  18. Megan,
    Okay, so I have a browning meat suggestion. This sounds weird I know, but hang with me. It really works for me. When the meat gets warmed up and starts browning on the bottom side, I take a potato masher (yes I did say potato masher) and start stirring it with the potato masher. It keeps the meat evenly broke up and it helps you to see when it gets done, because all the pieces are about the same size. It works for me. You should try it, and all the mashing might just help your stres =) (Okay so don't really mash, just stir, nobody likes mashed meat =) I got this trick from a Rachael Ray show.

    Have a Blessed day,

  19. First of all, remember, this WILL get easier with time. Then also remember, even if the meat is a tiny bit pink, it still wouldn't kill you. Some people eat their hamburgers a little pink. I know, I know, all the stuff about getting it done...and I agree. BUT, even if you just barely get the pink out, it is OK. Believe me, I have been cooking for 33 years. A little tiny bit of pink never hurt us. So, don't stress...just cook it until you don't see pink. It will be ok.

    Potatoe THAT freaks me out!

  20. I'm fine with hamburger meat, but raw chicken absolutely disgusts me which is really odd considering how much I like to eat chicken.

    I cannot, repeat CANNOT, handle cutting raw chicken up. I have nightmares about salmonella and chicken juice and it just gives me the heebs.

  21. I do always want someone else to tell me the meat is brown, but I don't tend to stress about it. And... I don't eat eggs, therefore, I feel I should never have to boil them, lol.

    I do stress out about condiments, though. Mayo, mustard, ketchup... they are all disgusting to me. I am YEARS away from having children and I already stress that they are going to love all three. I dread having to touch the stuff as I clean them up.

  22. You need to find the color change thermometers! The have changed my life! There were like 5 in the pack (one for beef, chicken, fish, cakes and something else)... all you do it stick it in the meat, and if the tip turns red, you're finished!! it's helped me so much that i don't even use it on the beef anymore, and only on the chicken sometimes. I'm pretty sure I got them at target, and if you're interested, let me know and i'll see if i can dig up what brand they are.

  23. Awww!!! Sweet girl you just need some practice. My hubby ate many non-edible things (or we threw a lot out) the first few months of marriage, haha! Practice makes perfect!

  24. Haha this is awesome! I'm probably just as bad about you with browning meat, I just don't know it yet because I'm too scared to try it! One time I had my sisters over for dinner and I sweetly asked (aka made) my husband cook the meat before they got there. I had it heating up (it was already cooked) on the stove when they arrived and I graciously accepted all their compliments on the meal. I COMPLETELY understand where you're coming from. Thanks for helping me feel a little more normal :-)

  25. I've never done and I hope I never have to. I'm a vegetarian though and I'll let my husband take care of all the cooking of the meat.

    Hopefully he will cook all our meals for the kids or I'm going to be freaking out just like you and probably throwing up on top all that since meat smells so bad to me! hahahahahaha!

    Oh and I totally call my Mom all the time when I cook and ask her questions.

  26. always make me laugh! I don't necessarily get stressed out by cooking one thing in general but I cook everything at our house so when Hubby comes home & I'm still cooking he knows to stay out of my way. I get in a cooking zone and almost stress myself out in order to make sure that everything gets done at the right time & that it tastes good. Hubby wouldn't be much help with cooking meat since he's color blind! ;o)

  27. Yeah, I do this with meat too, but my bad thing is with chicken! It ALWAYS looks pink! How am I supposed to know?!!! So I end up cooking it about 10 minutes too long and it's tough, BUT it's done!

  28. haha! i do not have the meat anxiety! but let me tell you that I do sometimes overcook it. I've learned dark meat isn't as dangerous as chicken. i usually make my hubby do chicken bc i know its more important to be cooked all the way and well, it just grosses me out..though i still eat it. i think this fear of yours will pass. practice makes perfect :) ps i really like ground turkey meat and it's easy!

  29. I can definitely relate, I always am afraid of undercooking. I have definitely called my mom many times while cooking. I'm also partial to googling ridiculous phrases like "how to tell when meat is done" and agonizing over whether mine meets the criteria.

  30. I was laughing so hard when I read this, because you sound exactly like me. Our first "fight" as a married couple was over browning ground beef. I gave up so quickly that my husband took over, and he's been browning the ground beef ever since.

    My other cooking fear involves fish. One poor piece of tilapia got burned so bad, I had one itty-bitty bite that was okay. The rest was immediately thrown in the trash.

  31. Aww friend, you are brave! I just look at Garth cooking raw meat and I feel sick to my stomach! I think if I actually had to cook it I would become a vegetarian!!

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  33. I'm always nervous about meat esp chicken. You should try the colored thermometers and def invest in a meat thermometer with the cord so if you're baking something you will know the temp of the meat. Check recognized websites such as USDA for recommendations on what type of meat should be cooked to what temp. Hope that helps=)I also have a good, easy recipe for meatloaf from an Air Force One chef who used to make it for Mr. Clinton and was his fave. The meat thermometer will let you know when it's done b/c it has a timer. Just let me know!!!

  34. Seriously cracking me up! I saw your tweet last night and knew something must be horribly wrong!! LOL

    Glad you survived!

  35. Megan, I've been a lurker of your blog for quite some time now, and I have to say, you are so funny!

    I'm not a newlywed, nor am I southern, but I just really like your blog so much!

    And to answer your question, in my first year of marriage (been married 16 years in Sept) we ate Hamburger Helper a LOT (gross) and I had to call my mom almost. every. night.....seriously, I didn't even know how to boil water or cook noodles!

    Hang in there, you CAN do it!

    Keep the posts coming!

    And if you want, I'd love to see you visit my blog!

    Leanne in WA

  36. The precious comment was left by ME, not my husband David! I didn't sign in to blogspot, sorry!!

  37. I am laughing so hard right now!!! I absolutely cannot make any kind of eggs! I mess them up royally...even in the microwave!
    I am always calling my Mom with cooking questions!

  38. Hi! I just found your blog through All Things in Moddy.

    This is hilarious! I've never been scared of cooking hamburger meat, but there have been many, many, MANY times when I've called my mom mid-recipe about other things! I'll do things like "The recipe calls for this and I don't have that so what can I put in instead?" or "this meat has been in my freezer for a year and a half, can I still cook it?" I don't know what I'd do without my mom.

    p.s. I'm going to add you to my blog roll, if that's okay. I'd love to be added to yours, too!

  39. I'm a vegetarian so I have no clue!

  40. LOL! You are so silly! I don't have a problem with browning meat, but I don't like the smell of it or handling it. I don't eat red meat, but I do cook it for will get the hang of it. It just takes practice!!!

  41. Oh Megan! You crack me up! I get nervous with chicken, but with hamburger meat it turns an obvious brown. I bet your mom just laughs at you. I always make Ty give his approval for chicken before we eat it. haha!

  42. Maybe you should get a meat thermometer! Can't you tell if something is done by the temp?! I love that I suggested this, but I'm not really sure if it works for this. :)

  43. bwaahahaha! oh it's chicken for me, especially if we are having peeps over! i am so nervous that it will be overcooked, but then i'm afraid that it's not cooked enough and someone might get sick, i always make Hubby try it first too, haha! and i still call my mom with cooking questions, or does this sound right?, or is this still good, it doesn't smell bad but it looks funny, haha!!! (hubby's always my judge for this too when i'm indecisive=))

  44. Megan,
    When Tommy and I were first married I tried to cook popcorn and started a fire on the stove! All the smoke alarms were blaring and we had to take the smoking pot outside and throw dirt on it to smother the flames (I say "we" meaning Tommy). Needless to say, I was banned for eternity by Tommy from cooking popcorn on the stove. I love popcorn cooked on the stove so much though! Eventually (years later) I worked up my courage again and Tommy relinquished the ban- he showed me how to cook it and now I'm a pro! Chin up girl- years from now you will probably be an amazing cook (something happens to your brain when you have kids- things like cooking-that didn't click before suddenly make sense!)
    Love reading your blog!

  45. girl. the kitchen sends me into panic attacks!! what do you even brown meat for?!?

  46. You are hilarious! Keep on trying! Loved your post today.

  47. oh man i'd have panic attacks too!!

    and i just read below! ... ahh you gotta get into the first 130 pages before you're really "in" .. trust me i felt the same way too and now im hooked to the entire series!!

  48. Oh my gosh I'm so glad I'm not alone! My bf makes fun of me because every time I cook meat it's overdone--on purpose! I want to MAKE SURE it's done. (And it drives him crazy that I make him cut open every piece of meat, even if he cooks it, and if I see ANY pink, I make him cook it longer!)


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