The Joy Of Cooking

It’s no secret that I can’t cook. I mean, I can do SOME things. Like, I can make a cake…from a box. I can make chicken…on the grill. I can make roast beef…in a crock pot. Eggs and bacon…on the stove. Toast…in a toaster. And a bunch of other things that require no more than three ingredients and a pan.

Except sometimes even the pan can be a problem.

Case in point: I caught a grilled cheese sandwich on fire last night. Seriously, three ingredients—bread, cheese, and butter—and I somehow managed to burn it black. Before you think, “How did she do something so stupid?” believe me, it was easy. All I did was butter both sides of the bread, lay some cheese in the middle, stick it in the pan, and turn on the burner. Then I wandered into the laundry room, folded towels, carried them to respective bathrooms, and wound up in mine. Then I noticed that my closet was a little messy. So I walked in and picked up the shoes. Then I started organizing them. Then I saw a shirt lying on the floor and hung it up. Then I started thinking about what I was going to wear to work the next day and picked out an outfit. Then the phone rang. Then my daughter needed help spelling a word. Then I checked my email. And then I smelled smoke and yelled something like, “Whoever left the burner on, please turn it off!”
My kids responded with, “We’re not cooking.”
I responded with, “Then who is?”
My daughter responded with, “Is my grilled cheese ready?”
And I responded with, “Oh crap.”

And we ran. And smoke was everywhere. And the pan was burned. And the bread was black. And I couldn’t find an image of Jesus anywhere on it so that I could at least convince people it was blessed and sell it on EBay (don’t judge me—people do this all the time. I may or may not have an Eggo waffle depicting Michael Jackson doing the moonwalk hidden somewhere in my closet). Anyway, my daughter didn’t want it. Go figure. I couldn’t get a break.

I wish this was a rare occurrence, but it isn’t.

And so when a friend suggested I write a cooking blog, it sounded like an interesting idea. I think she meant an entire blog site devoted to the perils of cooking—which I could do, since my perils are on the longish side—but I just don’t have the energy for that. Or the talent. But one blog sounded like a plan. Inspired, actually, since all inspiration was failing me and I nearly said “Forget it” to a blog today. So thanks, Christina, for the awesome idea. Me and my Thursday blog
space appreciate you. So here goes.

What NOT To Do In the Kitchen…Brought To You By Someone Who’s Done Them All (Me):

1. Do not leave the room when grilled cheese sandwiches are cooking, because you can start a fire.
2. On that vein, do not leave the house when chicken is boiling, because you can boil it dry and consequently…almost start a fire.
3. And on THAT vein, do not make homemade potpourri and leave it cooking on the stove, because no matter how nice it smells…it too, will eventually smell like smoke.
4. And speaking of, do not mistake the sizzling sound of boiled-dry potpourri for the sound of your neighbor’s weed eater. I can’t really explain this one, but just please know that it’s possible. Just trying to save lives here…
5. Do not chop vegetables while watching television, because sometimes you can cut off a thumbnail. Sometimes also you find it later when you’re eating dinner.
6. Do not flip pork chops while you’re craning your neck toward the television, because sometimes grease will flip on your arm leave a scar. Or three.
7. Do not let your hair hang loose when you’re making lasagna, because sometimes things hide in spaghetti sauce. Things you’re Father-in-Law just loves to discover.
8. Do not rely on the waffle maker to beep when it’s finished. Because sometimes it doesn’t, and no one likes hard-as-rocks waffles. Not even with syrup.
9. Do not make a soufflé that you find in your sister’s Julia Child cookbook (which she keeps leaving at your house, so it’s totally her fault that you keep trying the recipes in the first place. But I HAVE to—hasn’t anyone seen the movie?), because soufflé’s aren’t meant to be cooked by everyone. Namely people who don’t know how to make soufflés. Or have a soufflé pan.
10. Do not serve burned baked beans in hopes that no one notices. They notice.
11. Do not hit your smoke alarm with a broom stick. It doesn’t work anyway.
12. And by the way, do not fry bacon without opening the back door. I gave up trying years ago.
13. Do not assume that burned butter won’t affect the taste of your food. It will. It totally will.
14. Do not toss potholders toward the stove without double-checking the landing. Despite popular belief, potholders are not fire-proof.
15. Do not leave the house without checking in the mirror. This has nothing to do with cooking. It just has to do with that ketchup can be on your face and a friend will have to tell you. Which sometimes happens when you’re too lazy to cook and go for take-out instead.

So that’s it. But really, these tips are important. Because cooking is dangerous, people. Cooking is scary. Cooking can make you lose an eye. Or maybe that’s just Red Rider BB Guns, but still.

Cooking is not for amateurs.

Or for people who have sisters who love to do it. So I think I’ll start a new tradition where I just swing by her house to pick up dinner…and dessert that didn’t come from a box. So who cares about the perils of cooking when you’ve got that on your side?

Certainly not me.

See you next time!


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