This morning I decided to cook blueberry pancakes, eggs, sausage, and oven-roasted potatoes for our Valentines Day breakfast. Standing at the griddle, I turned to B to ask him how he wanted his eggs prepared. His response?
Needless to say, he got to cook the eggs. And they were perfect, as usual, dammit.
I’m actually a pretty darn good cook, and B will agree. He goes to school and brags to his buddies over his leftovers, and he flatters me with praise every time I put a homemade meal in front of him. Since I left my job, in addition to the regular meals we rotate out I’ve had time to experiment with Thai, Vietnamese, Greek, and Mexican recipes so that I’m actually developing my ability to taste something in a restaurant and whip up a batch by guessing at the flavors of the dish. (Last night we were relieved when the Thai coconut curry soup, which gave off an alarming odor during cooking, developed into a tasty near-identical version of what we used to eat in a restaurant in San Diego.) In the past few weeks we’ve had shepherd’s pie, beef pot roast with vegetables (an oldie/goodie), Cuban picadillo, Greek chicken with onions, lasagna, Vietnamese rice noodle salads, apricot chicken with quinoa, Greek lemon chicken soup, coq au vin, etc. etc. and they all turned out well!
But despite my culinary prowess, some of the most basic food items still frustrate me every time.
My chocolate chip cookies always either end up puffy and cake-like, burned, or drippy, so that they bake like crepes. My omelettes always turn into scrambles (which are sometimes very tasty, but when I set out to make an omelette I want to make an omelette, for crying out loud!) I just called out to ask B to help me write the list of “failed food items” and he promptly disappeared into the next room shouting “Loaded question! I know better than to answer this!” so my list will stop there at least until I can recall the other dishes that I now either avoid mentioning in our kitchen or command B to cook for me.
B would rat me out tell you that the reason for my failures is twofold: I don’t measure ingredients, and I commonly employ terms like “boil the sh*t out of it” in my instructions. While with most dishes the first part of his explanation is mostly true, I measure ingredients for those dishes that I know I will struggle over (like the chocolate chip cookies,) so his argument doesn’t hold up when 95% of my cooking endeavors end in success. As for the boiling thing, well, that’s true. If I were to write a cookbook, the measurements would be vague and the cooking instructions would either delight or totally offend. Though in my opinion, one can’t express a direction any clearer than “boil the sh*t out of it”.
So if you get an invitation to join us for dinner sometime, you should look forward to it. Unless drippy cookies and burned eggs are on the menu, in which case you should run like hell in the other direction and ponder what made us dislike you so much.