Monday, March 21, 2011

Personal Story Time: I can't cook.

I grew up baking.  That's what we do.  The women in my family bake.  If you're in the need for some traffic-stopping zucchini bread, I'm your woman.  However, I have never been much of a chef.  Can't we just have chocolate chip cookies and banana nut muffins for dinner?

When I started my stint as a stay-at-home mom, I decided I would learn how to cook real food for my husband and my daughter.  I set out on a mission to learn how to instinctively cook healthier, tastier meals.  I can whip up a tater tot casserole like it's nobody's business.  Meat and potatoes are easy, but everything else?  Not so much.

After dinner one night before I went back to work, my husband said, "Huh... you're becoming quite the cook.  I didn't expect that."  In typical male fashion, the comment came out wrong, but he meant well.  Practicing had been helping me, and I saw some progress.  I felt more confident in the kitchen.  Then... I went back to work and stopped experimenting.  For 7 weeks, I cooked what I knew (again).  I was tired after working with high school freshmen all day and cooked whatever was simple and quick for dinner.  Now, that I'm back home, I'm discovering cooking to be one of those skills I have to continue practicing or I lose it.  The past 3 days, I've tried new recipes.  When I ask my husband what he thinks as he's eating his dinner, he pauses.  Every single time.  He pauses.  Then, after carefully deciding how to respond, he says, "It's alright."  "It's disgusting" is what he wants to say.  Today was the worst.  The poor guy had worked 11 straight hours without stopping for lunch or breaks.  He was starving when he walked through the front door.  Anticipating a hungry husband after he missed lunch, I had concocted a marinade for a few hamburgers and had them cooking as he arrived.  Anxiously, he grabbed his plate and sat down to enjoy his meal.  How he stopped himself from spitting out that first bite, I'll never know.  The marinade was awful; I had soaked them way too long; the burgers were gross.

I'm going to continue trying new recipes and attempting to learn how to cook meals that don't involve fried potatoes, macaroni and cheese, or taco salad, but I'm not holding out much hope.  I think I missed that gene somewhere.  It wasn't passed down.

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