Adventures With Cooking: SideKicks Creamy Bacon Carbonera

Hey folks, Doogie here. We at Fourth Line Cook are not all what you’d call “experts” in the field. Some of us are learning, just like you, and even the most experienced among us will make a wee mess from time to time. So, we thought sharing a few of those stories would ease the tension surrounding learning to cook. None of us is truly alone in the field of culinary embarrassment.

Knorr SideKicks are among the easiest thing in the novice chef’s arsenal. The recipe is right there on the box or bag, and usually involves microwaving at most four ingredients: water, milk (sometimes), butter/margarine (which I personally omit), and the contents of the packet. They’re pretty much made for busy people with short attention spans and/or limited skills. You would think they’d be impossible to screw up, but as the saying goes, nothing is truly idiot-proof if you have a sufficiently talented idiot.

Now, when I’ve made certain SideKicks dishes in the past, I’ve covered them with a paper towel because when the water evapourates, it will spray the spices all over the microwave, leaving a heck of a mess. However, when making the Creamy Bacon Carbonera – or, I suspect, any of the ones with milky sauce – it’s perhaps for the best to leave your bowl uncovered. I discovered this rule of thumb tonight when, after returning to my microwave after its twelve-minute odyssey, I found 3/4 of the cream in my Creamy Bacon Carbonera all over the glass dish within. It appears that the milk-water combination had evapourated, saturated the paper towel, and used it as a wick-like conduit to spread all over the bloody microwave.

While I was ultimately able to get enough of the flavour out of the surviving cream to get the idea, it was clearly not the culinary experience I’d been seeking, not to mention the fact that the noodles were still a touch hard, no doubt because their protective juices had forsaken them long ago. It’s a bit of a tragedy, really, as it was smelling like a solid hit as I bounced around the kitchen waiting for it to finish heating up. So, let this be a lesson to you: if the SideKicks packet says microwave it “uncovered,” then dammit, microwave it uncovered. You might have a slight mess on the top of your microwave but it’s better than losing half your meal to the laws of physics.

(The hilarious sequel to this post will be when I reprise my Creamy Bacon Carbonera experiment to find that it still makes a goopy mess all over the microwave when it’s uncovered. Because the gods of cooking are cruel bastards.)

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