Cooking and the Pitfalls of Being Bad at It (Original Post 11/12/13)

Let’s just say it, I suck at cooking.  As a self proclaimed lover of all food, it pains me to admit it but, the truth hurts.  I am a down right bad cook.  My smoke detector likes to remind me of that almost every night.  I ruined a pot boiling water once.  True story.    It still remains scorched to this day. A daily reminder hanging in my itty-bitty kitchen that you can in fact mess up boiling water. I have big aspirations of creating fluffy delightful omelets.  Reality, burnt scrambled eggs with some cheese and veggies mixed in.  Don’t get me started on flipping pancakes and that damn messy catastrophe.  If you come to my house for breakfast, request a bowl of cereal.  Trust me.  It’s the one thing I have yet to jack up.  YET being the operative word in that statement.  The more simple the meal, the bigger the failure.  Here’s the thing, I keep trying in the hopes I step up my game.  I even get ambitious and try really fancy stuff that has weird flavor combinations and use terms like etouffee and chiffonade.  Same basic results but, usually a bit more interesting. And interesting = hard to tell it’s not right.  Which isn’t a loss nor a win.  Almost like a tie.  Or better yet, a forfeit.

I see the sailor cringe every time I offer to bring food to his friends’ and family gatherings.  I am sure he hopes for a simple, “Oh, that’s not necessary,” or “Some sodas would be great,” to avoid having to apologize for the weird aftertaste of my cornbread leaves behind when I am not looking or in earshot.

Speaking of, bless the dirty sailor’s heart, he never says a peep.  Not to me anyway. And he eats it, whatever “it” is.  With a smile.  Sometimes forces it down with a reassuring grin that, “It’s good, no really, it’s not bad”.   Lumpy yet runny mashed potatoes and gelatinous salisbury steak get sucked down and appreciated. It warms the cockles of my heart that he risks Crone’s like side effects just to not offend me.  I have given him an out by telling him to simply use the secret phase of, “I’ll just have cereal tonight,” but he has yet to invoke that get out of jail free card.  And they say chivalry is dead.

Don’t get me wrong, I have some wins under my cooking belt.  I make some killer baked beans.  No, I don’t just heat up a can of pork n’ beans thank you very much.  And I made Ree Drummond’s scalloped potatoes and NAILED IT once.  But, they are made with a metric shit ton of butter, heavy cream and cheese so really, I was set up for that easy win. There are a few others that I proudly will provide a crowd of semi-stangers and am confident will be not only appetizing but, met with requests to bring it again.  I guess with all my failures, I am hoping to find a few more “go to” recipes.  Now, why I continue to massacre breakfast meals over and over, ya got me.  I like breakfast and aspire to being able to make it myself I guess.  Now excuse me while I go eat my raw yet burnt brick of french toast and crunchy scrambled eggs I made for dinner.