I like to think that there’s a lesson to be learned from everything. It makes optimism a more easily acquired characteristic. Today’s lesson? Rice paper is not the same as egg roll wrapping.

Maybe I forgot to mention this, but I am not a cook. I like to cook. Scratch that. I really love cooking. But I am no professional.

My freshman year I lived in the residence halls and had a meal plan through my school. Here’s another lesson–no charge: Be-friend the people who cook your food. That’s how I survived a school meal plan. School meal plans are funny things. You get baked potatoes at the beginning of the week, mashed potatoes or French fries somewhere around the middle, then hash browns or tater tots by the end. This process is why I developed a love for my own cooking.

I like knowing what goes into my food. My mother cooked dinner every night while I was growing up. Very traditional. Things have changed since I left for college and my mom took on a steady job teaching again. Our meals weren’t always basic, but you always knew the main ingredients. And another something: my father asked for our meals to be colorful. I didn’t know that until later on. Pops liked to have a salad with every dinner and at least two different colors on the dinner plate. It drove Mom up a wall.

For this reason, though, I also like having colorful meals. I don’t like a lot of brown in my dinner. Dessert? Hell yeah. Dessert can be brown as long as it’s tasty. But dinner, no. I’d grab some fast food if I wanted a lot of brown.

On to the main reason I’m here.

Tonight, I decided to replicate this recipe: Chicken Parmesan Wraps. There are some other really delicious posts on this blog as well. Please please please check her out. I’m probably making a few of her recipes for dinner this week. But. Anyways. Being the newb that I very much so am,  I didn’t realize that there’s a difference between rice paper and egg roll wrappers. Maybe that’s silly, but my mom made spring rolls when I was little and I figured rice paper would cook how I wanted them to. False. No. Negatron. Very wrong.

Rice paper is very stiff when you buy it at the store. It’s pretty inexpensive–something like $1.79-1.99 depending where you buy it and what brand. I like King Sooper’s/Kroger. It’s Kroger in the South, but I’m in Colorado for school and it’s King Sooper’s here. Anyways. When you wet rice paper it quickly becomes sticky and soft, but as soon as it dries again it returns to being stiff–sort of like a very thin grain of rice before being cooked. We steam rice for a reason. Uncooked rice is not enjoyable. Where was this thought process when I was grocery shopping?

So. Egg roll wrappers. Know what they’re made of? I’ll give you a hint: it’s in the name. Eggs, that’s correct. To expand, eggs, flour, water, salt, and I don’t remember what else. Most of us have had an egg roll in our lives. They’re almost bread-like, right? That’s why I liked the idea of the particular recipe I was supposed to be making.

This is where the lesson part plays in. I tried to cook this meal using rice paper. Baaaaad Sarah. It was a terrible eating experience. There was no bread-like quality and the edges that had been dried by the oven were sharp and made swallowing terrifying. Use egg roll wrappers. You’ll find them at your local grocery store somewhere around the produce. I don’t understand that thought process, but oh well. There aren’t enough types of egg roll wrappers to justify throwing a small refrigerator in the Asian Food aisle, I guess.

Here’s how dinner turned out:

I made about six of these, with another six egg roll wrappers left over for another time. The first two were atrociously sad looking, but very tasty. I might have put them in the oven a little too early. The wrappers hadn’t cooked nearly enough. But the other four I made were delicious. You may notice that I substituted feta for parmesan. I’m a little obsessed with feta at the moment. I like the crumbly, salty, and textured characteristics of it. Not to mention, I don’t feel the need to salt anything if I use feta.

Also, I threw some basil in for a little extra flavor.

Next time I make these, though–and there will definitely be a next time–I might use wonton wrappers instead. Same dough, but they’re smaller. And I’ll definitely cut up the spinach and basil instead of leaving them as full leaves. I hate when I get too much cooked spinach in one bite. I’m much more of a raw spinach kind of girl.

There’s always an upside, though. Now I have rice paper to make spring rolls. Lots and lots of spring rolls. I tend to seriously overestimate the size of my stomach.