The Cooking Show in My Head

Good evening! And welcome to Cooking with John. Tonight we’re going to be making one of my signature dishes, Cheesy Deliciousness. The name of this dish derives from the massive amount of cheese that goes into it, as well as the fact that it is delicious.

Now, I like to bring all my ingredients out onto the counter before I begin preparing any dish. That way, I won’t hurriedly look into the refrigerator while I’m cooking, bang my head in there, have the refrigerator door close on my neck, and die with my head lying on a shelf between a carton of orange juice and a leftover party platter from Trader Joe’s. Because nothing, people, dampens the mood of a festive dinner party or afternoon brunch like a dead person in the kitchen with his head in the fridge.

All right! So here we have our jars of tomato sauce, our bag of frozen spinach, and our noodles. Now, I know that using the “bow-tie” noodle for this dish is a somewhat controversial choice. Of course, it is my dish, so, if I wanted to, I could put horse teeth in it. But I want to bow-tie noodles in it. You are free to use whatever sort of pasta you like. But I prefer noodles in the shape of clothing favored by smug geeks who think their winsome choice of neck-wear gives them depth. If they ever make a noodle in the shape of an ascot, I’ll be making Arrogant Weenie Casserole that very afternoon.

Now, I find that the key to Cheesy Deliciousness lies in the proper choice of sauce. As you see here, I find the Ragu brand generally satisfactory. But lately the Ragu company has developed so many kinds of sauces that I end up too confused to buy any of them at all. Do I want Basil Mushroom Garlic Meat? Oregano Fennel Barley Parsley? Mint Thyme Bell Pepper Celery Lemon Zest? Chunky Wheat? Tuscany Dreams? Romano Delight? Tunisian Dalliance? Germanic Insistence? I have no idea. That is why, ultimately, I find that the most satisfying sauce for me to use in just about any of my dishes is the sauce that happens to be on sale when I’m shopping.

Of course, these days you need a degree in applied logarithms to figure out what grocery items on sale actually cost. Now tags for store sale items say things like “6 for $9.43,” or “14 for $62.18.” Apparently grocery stores have discovered a correlation between making money, and making people feel stupid because they can’t do long division in their heads. Perhaps they’ve all gone into the pocket calculator business. I have no idea. But it’s made me bitter and dyspeptic.

Anyway, back to cooking! But first, a word from one of our very favorite sponsors, Two-Buck Chuck.

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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • Happy: Trader Joe's is a much LESS happy place if you work there—or at least it was 12 or so years ago, when I DID work there. It was horrible. But I think maybe it's changed since then. And I still shop there.

    I will continue with this my next post. I agree with you: it's only right that I share this amazing recipe with everyone out there who … well, wants to gain weight, mostly.

  • Judy

    I'm trying to lose weight, but I'm a cheese freak and I'm tempted by your recipe, which you haven't give us yet. I haven't had dinner…maybe I have the ingredients in my cabinet/refrigerator. Give it up, John.

  • Trader Joe's is a very happy place. However, the parking lot is one of the most frightening spots in our happy little suburb. The guests hurry to their SUVs with their insulated bags full of gourmet yogurt, pasta, sauce and Two Buck Chuck. Who wants to be patient in a parking lot with such wondrous treats in hand…

  • HW

    Hey, Trader Joe’s is a very happy place. I tried a hummus variety pack there earlier this week, but

    but I’ve never had their party platter. I’ll put it on my list of things to do!

    As for the kitchen, guess you’re keeping the magic to yourself, eh? You’re not sharing your recipe. Cruel, John, very cruel.

  • Lynn

    I love your description here, too funny. I’m wondering if Julia Child had influenced you in your younger years or if you have wittingly/unabashedly prepared dishes according to the cooking episodes that are being aired on TV that day? What’s your secret? And, is your next book going to be a recipe book?

  • Hjordes

    Our favorite fast food is Taco Bell. Their menu features a .99 yummy which my daughter calls Beany Cheesy Goodness. When I can't remember the name of the pintos and cheese I order: "Beeny Cheesy Goodness – you know, in a cup." They usually figure it out.

  • Jerry Whitehouse via Facebook

    you are so funny lol what your poor wife must go through. hehehe

  • Ogrebeast SixtyFour via Facebook

    I crack people up over here when I start imitating the Swedish Chef from the Muppets when I start cooking.

  • I once made up a recipe when I was only about six. I must have already started on my lifelong addiction to chocolate, cause my recipe was for Chocolate Water! I reasoned, we already have chocolate milk, why not water!

  • Artemis Kore via Facebook

    “But I prefer noodles in the shape of clothing favored by smug geeks who think their winsome choice of neck-wear gives them depth.” Don’t forget Time Lords who are certain that they’re ‘cool’. ~_^

  • Anne Young via Facebook

    omg. i shall admit that i too have had cooking shows in my head…. hilarious!!! thnx!

  • Well I certainly can’t lose weight, so naturally I’m looking forward to the recipe.

  • What is Two Buck Chuck? The nearest Trader Joes from my house is 30 minutes away, so I’ve never been there.

  • Lisa

    I too have failed to conquer long division. I too feel bitter and dyspeptic.

    Thank you, John!

  • awesome. anyhow anything with massive amounts of cheese is necessarily delicious.

  • It’s wine TJ’s sells for two bucks a bottle. It’s sort of a phenomenon, because it’s really not bad at all–and sometimes it’s quite great.

  • Valerie

    Exactly what I was thinking cause you know ” bow ties are cool “!!!!!

  • Kay Carrasco

    30 minutes away from a Trader Joe’s? Thirty. Minutes. And you don’t go…? *weeps a little* M’dear, I’m FOURS HOURS — each way, mind you — from my nearest Joe’s, and I go every time I’m in Albuquerque! I’ve been known to schedule whole trips and flights times around making my TJ’s run before I head home, or even to take a more expensive flight out of ABQ rather than Lubbock, as poor LBB has no Joe’s.

  • Dwayne Mason

    Germanic insistence, please.