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.)


How to Start Cooking

For our inaugural post, I thought it would good idea to get into how to start cooking in the first place if home cooking is not already a part of your life.

My most important advice is this: start small.

Like any change in your life, it’s good to ease in and take incremental steps so that you don’t overwhelm yourself and flame out. If you don’t cook at all, just start with one meal a week. At first, cooking will be a bit of a time commitment, so one meal a week will allow you to schedule your cooking for a day when you’re not coming home from work tired and starving.

Secondly: start with food you know and like. Experimentation is awesome, but there’s nothing quite like making food you really enjoy eating to help encourage your new hobby. Ask family or friends how to make that thing you like, or search for a “from scratch” version of a convenience meal you enjoy.

Thirdly, remember how low the stakes are. The worst thing that can happen from this process is you make some food that is gross. Not a big deal! Try and try again is definitely the cooking motto, and with each mistake you really will learn.

Happy cooking!

♡ Kit


Greetings, new cooks! This blog is for people who never learned to cook, people who think they can’t cook, and people with limitations that make cooking hard to do. We’ll have tips and recipes, findable through tags,  for whatever is important to you, whether that’s low cost, long self-life, quick to prepare, or simple food. 

Welcome to cooking!

♡ Kit