I was group texting with Clair and Lolly this morning when
one of them asked for some new dinner ideas for the week. Apparently, they forgot I was on the
text. I don’t cook. And, when I say this to people, they
are always, “Oh my gosh, me neither!” and I temporarily don’t feel so
alone. But then I’m at their house
on a random Tuesday and they are “just whipping up” some seared ahi tuna with a
beautiful remoulade served alongside caramelized shallots and candied beets.
Do you know how you can tell if someone cooks? They recklessly use phrases like, “just
pop in some (blah blah)” and “oh, just toss it over (whatever)” and “I just
throw together whatever I have on hand.” They say this as if perhaps an infant could crawl up on the
counter and cook if only they had the fine-motor skills. Also, most of what they “whip up”
includes foreign-to-me ingredients like roasted kale and pine nuts. What does that even MEAN? Many times,
friends have tried to convince me that cooking is SOO simple. That I probably already have everything
I need in my fridge/pantry. You
know what that means? My family
would be eating three bread and butter pickles over expired hummus paired with
last week’s pizza sautéed in vanilla coffee creamer. Canned fruit cocktail for dessert. Beverage choices are whole milk, juice boxes or half and half.
My mom didn’t cook either, so maybe it’s genetic like blue
eyes or heart disease. When we got married, I was determined to learn and begin life as the domestic goddess I knew I had hidden inside. I was a wife. Wives cook.
wedding gift, someone gave us the expensive crock pot we registered for along
with a book called “135 Fail Proof Amazing Slow Cooker Recipes.” Some of the recipes allowed you to cook
the main dish AND a side all in the same fancy pot! (bonus: our high-end crock pot came
with a tiny matching one, so I could even make desserts!!) Each night when Matt came home to
some new, beautiful, steaming feast, I hardly ate I was so impressed with
myself. I noticed his appetite
seemed to be dwindling as the weeks went on. Maybe he was secretly on a diet because he was planning to
surprise me with a tropical getaway?
Finally one night after I plated my newest creation, he just sighed and
gulped down some murky homemade tea.
(I couldn’t quite figure our Deluxe Mr. Coffee Instant Iced Tea Maker. Also a wedding gift.)
Assuming it was a rhetorical question I asked, “Does
everything taste alright?” His
cheeks got red. Little beads of
sweat appeared. That’s what a hot,
home cooked meal will do to a guy.
“Well, I just. I don’t know. It’s fine. No, it’s GOOD! I
can’t believe how well you cook! But. Is there a certain ingredient you've been using in every recipe?”
“No. We had cream cheese chicken alfredo Monday and bacon
ranch ribs yesterday. Obviously
“But what about the barbecue sauce?” You know how I always
mention Matt’s shifty nervous-y eyes when things are about to potentially go
“BARBEQUE SAUCE?” I was incredulous but not sure why yet.
“No. It’s not
that. I love barbecue sauce. But
why are you using it every day?”
So, like a mature WIFE
(because I was a grown-up-married-person now), I dramatically threw my
monogrammed napkin (another wedding gift) onto our “every day” China and ran to our
bedroom slamming the door behind me.
After waiting about four minutes, Matt tapped on our
door. “It’s FINE!” I wailed, my
head under our new Pottery Barn
pillow shams. “I KNEW you hated
it. I KNEW I COULDN’T COOK!”
He sat down on the bed beside me. “Babe, no. I’ve
figured it out. It’s just the crock-pot.
Really! There is something wrong with it. Every single thing you cook tastes like the exact same sour
barbecue sauce. (boy, does he have a way with words!) So it isn’t you, it's the crock pot that's terrible.”
You guys… this man is a saint! And also, a liar.
I pitched my beautiful, chrome, 4-automatic-settings
crock-pot in the apartment dumpster on my way to work the next day. And I never
But, I am a MOM now. Mills licked the chocolate off of a protein bar for breakfast this morning. So, while Clair and Lolly swapped delicious sophisticated-sounding recipes, I furiously took notes. It's never too late to learn, right?