08 July 2010

The Particular Sadness of My Kitchen

I recently read The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake* (A pretty good book with an interesting story line that will keep you engaged if you can overlook the staggering lack of quotation marks, which, quite frankly, made me want to RIP OUT the author's larynx. But, I'm cool. It's aaaaallll good.) and wondered what people would discover about me through my cooking.

And that's when I remembered... I don't cook! I suck at cooking. My cooking? Bad for your health.

OK, OK, I'll be honest. There are a week's worth of meals I know how to cook without making people gag and run for the hills. But? Overall? I'm not good at it. Deep down, I'm a recipe-literalist. If a recipe says 1/4 teaspoon of this and 1 cup of that, then I'm putting in 1/4 teaspoon and 1 cup, no more, no less. I don't experiment and I certainly don't know what spices or vegetables make which meats taste better or worse. I'm clueless! I'm at the mercy of the recipe and what it says goes for me. It drives me nuts when my mom, a.k.a. Martha Stewart, Jr., will tell me "dash" of salt or "pinch" of nutmeg. NO! Absolutely not! Don't give me that bovine crap. Do you know I actually found measuring spoons that are labeled pinch, dash, and smidge? Yeah. That's how desperate I am. I use a kitchen conversation piece in my mother's cooking.

And when I get excited and try a new recipe that my loved ones deem Meh, could use more 'insert ingredient here'. I lock up. What's the point in slaving over a stove full of new-recipe-food, after a day of herding kids, laundry, dishes, and toys, when the end result is going to be Welllllll..... I've even tried the simple pot roast. Easy, right? A slab of meat, some salt, pepper, dry onion soup mix, water, brown that sucker on all sides, put it in the crock and pot and GO! Wrong. Turns out dry and tasteless every time, no matter what combination I attempt. After all that, the kitchen is then trashed and everyone's taste buds go to bed unimpressed and I couldn't care less if I ever touch another cookbook or skillet again.

So, if I actually did cook on a regular basis, and any of you had the talent of the young girl in The Particular Sadness of Lemon Cake, you would most likely taste the following:

frustration - that I have to cook
irritation - that I've spilled yet another ingredient on the floor
fatigue - that it's the end of the day and I wish some one else would fix this food
anger - that it's all going to turn out Meh after all that work

Anybody want to send me some flash-frozen casseroles?

*BTW? Not a paid post. So, suck it FTC!


Annie said...

Me? I love to cook - anything, any flavor, and time of day. You get the idea. The sad thing is, I almost like the cooking more than the eating.

Come visit. Bring the minivan. I'll send you home loaded with frozen food (sorry, no casseroles here) and a blue ton of recipes. Heck, I might in throw the kids in a make it a full package deal!

Seriously, I'll send you my original battered copy of the "Starving Student Cookbook"... It can't be all bad if it tells you where to find the fresh fruit and milk when you go to the grocery store.

Megan said...

I just read a review of that book - I was intriqued by the title and premise. Nothing was mentioned about lack of quotation marks. Now I'm sure I can read it. I think that would make me insane.

I'm not an intuitive cook, but I can follow recipe like nobody's business.

hello haha narf said...

wow, i totally could have written this...except all of that husband and kids part. i am totally a literalist about cooking and yes, i also bought the pinch, dash, smidge measuring spoon thingies. not that i used the fuckers. because i don't cook. (last night my dinner consisted of tostitos tortilla chip strips, tostitos medium salsa and kraft american cheese slices. no, i'm not proud. yes, i speak the truth.)

so, while i can't send you frozen meals, i can totally make reservations for us.

sybil law said...

I go through phases with cooking - sometimes I LOVE it, and cook all these great meals for a week, and then the next week, I don't want to cook at all.
I think the trick is, find something you cook really well, something basic, and then spice it up with stuff you think you'd like.
I put carrots in a TON of food. Finely chopped carrots. i know - I'm a freak. I go for color, though. :)
Also, it's hard to mess up tacos, and they are always a hit.

HEATHER said...

You know I think your dislike for cooking must have something to do with the part of your brain that makes you so brilliant with sciencey type things. I am horrid at science type things, but I am (so I've been told) an excellent cook. I LOVE to cook.
Have you thought of using any of the meal service places like Entree Vous?

Grant said...

That's why god gave us Asia - so we'd have loads of tasty takeout and wouldn't have to make anything more difficult than popcorn in order to survive.

Merrily Down the Stream said...

I used to love to cook when I 'entertained' and frankly was a Martha Stewart Junior - but kids changed all that. I mean, I don't even use the word entertain any more! Now making the nightly meal is right up there with root canals.

Shelli said...

Did you ever think that maybe it's the pot roast's fault? Pot roasts are just dry and tasteless no matter what you do. Blech.

My husband does all the cooking. I suck, too.

Patois42 said...

Another literal recipe follower here. Thank God my husband does the cooking. I think it's something you've got or not. Although I'm a not, at least I married a got.

Avitable said...

I love to pay people to cook food, bring it to me, and then take away the dishes. It's much better.