Dinner Makeover: I Need to Learn How to Cook
Newlywed Ashley Bush is an absolute beginner in the kitchen. Join her as she learns how to cook, thanks to an arsenal of easy-to-follow recipes from the Real Simple food department.
Ashley Bush, 23
Ashley feels cursed in the kitchen. She’s the oldest of three, and during her teen years her mother relegated her to dishwasher duty after she made pancakes with a cup of salt instead of sugar. “They tasted like pretzels,” she says. Her culinary attempts in college were equally disastrous. (Even hot dogs came out overcooked and rubbery.) Ashley’s husband, Zach, a 25-year-old fellow graphic designer whom she married last October, isn’t exactly Jamie Oliver himself. “I’m happy to put cheese in a tortilla, stick it in the microwave, and call it dinner,” he says. As a result, the two live on grilled boneless chicken breasts, frozen pizza, and plain pasta. “Zach has lost 10 pounds since we got married,” says Ashley. “I’m worried that I’m going to starve him to death.” She has tried to find inspiration in cookbooks but panics at words like braise, and the last time she attempted to shake things up, with a recipe for breaded chicken cutlets, she had to toss the whole thing in the garbage. “The crust was a perfect golden brown, but the chicken was raw,” she says. “If I can’t throw it on my countertop grill, I’m lost.”