I always hear people say, “Oh, I LOVE cooking” and it makes me feel slightly defective. Because I don’t like cooking. I’m really bad at it.
I can make the same meal three times and screw something different up every single time. To wit: If I’m making fish sticks (don’t judge, I think fish is icky and will usually only eat it if it’s breaded and covered in tartar sauce) with roasted potatoes and sauteed broccoli, it’ll go like this:
- The first time I make it, the fish sticks and potatoes are great, but the broccoli is over-salted and nigh inedible.
- The second time, the fish sticks are fine and the potatoes are amazing, but the broccoli is still cold inside even though I swear I checked it before serving it. What the heck?
- The third time, the fish sticks are wilty even though I baked them the same amount of time as the first two times, the potatoes are almost flavorless, and the broccoli is great.
- Then I order pizza.
When I think of people liking cooking, I usually picture some blissful, clean kitchen where fun music is playing and the person is calmly preparing delicious things. Every once in awhile, the person tastes the sauce and then adds something gourmet to the pan, like a handful of fresh parsley or something.
Somehow, when I cook it never looks like this. It’s less Peaceful Contemplation Of A Cookbook and more Frantic Scramble For Ingredients Before The Kids Realize I’m Being Productive And Oh Crap I Forgot A Crucial Ingredient Maybe Wes Won’t Notice If I Cover Everything With Ketchup.
I was trying to figure out why that might be last night when I realized there are two things working against me.
1. The kids. The kids do not care that it’s dinner time. They have NEEDS, gosh dang it, and those needs are no respecter of cooking times and cooking methods. It is very difficult to cook when someone is sneaking up the stairs because he wants to jump down them one by one even though you’ve told him not to and someone else wants nothing more than to be held even though you’ve held her the better part of the afternoon already and hey the phone is ringing and wait, was that the pasta timer or the chicken timer? Meanwhile, there are drinks to be obtained for the boy and toys to be picked up for the girl and hey, I don’t think the chicken is supposed to look like a charcoal briquette.
2. My cooking ineptitude. Even if the tiny humans weren’t excellent at distracting me, I’d still make a non-tasty mess of things in the kitchen. Cooking is my Achilles heel. Absolutely hopeless.
The only solution I can see is to have Wes cook everything or to just have pastries for dinner because I am an excellent baker. I guess I could take a cooking class, but then we run into the kids problem again.
Ain’t nobody got time for Chicken Cordon Bleu when there are diaper changes, train tracks, and petty injuries to be addressed.
I think I’ll just keep mangling ostensibly simple dishes. Wes will eventually get the hint and take over. And there it is: Victory through complacent ineptitude.