… if you’ve turned out to be only an average cook. I have some sensational successes in the kitchen… and some phenomenal flops. So it all averages out to me being a… well, an average cook. At best I am inconsistent.
The funny thing is, I always thought I’d be a great cook. I love learning about cooking: reading cookbooks, watching the Food Network, talking to other home cooks. I obsessively jot down lists planning menus, organizing shopping lists, and recording ideas to streamline my efforts in the kitchen.
But my kitchen ideals just never seem to line up with my kitchen reality. I’ll be trotting along thinking I’m a real hero and then I’ll open the oven to discover a mess like the one in the photo. (Why didn’t I fill some of the empty muffin holes? It’s one of the mysteries of the universe.)
It’s not just that I make messes. (And I do plenty of that. I make huge messes. Donald Trump huge.) But I also tend to over-salt things. I tend to burn things. Undercook other things. And worst of all, because I have a frenetic need to “use things up,” I tend to screw up ratios and combine foods that are best not combined and end up with meals that no one but my loving husband wants to eat.
I could blame my inconsistencies in the kitchen on the kids. I could say that they’re distracting me and that when I am getting more sleep and finding more time for concentration at the counter my cooking will improve. But I have to admit it: I had my share of kitchen woes in those years of our marriage before we had kids. I think I’m a little too right-brained to be consistently successful with my cooking. I tend to overthink things, and my daydreams tend to supersede common sense. And then before I know it I’ve got a fabulous dessert and nothing else ready to eat with a crew of expectant and hungry cowboys sitting at my table.
The truth I must admit is that this might be one of those situations in life where a person eventually has to accept that — even though I’m really interested in it — cooking is probably not my thing. It’s all part of becoming a grown-up, realizing these things about yourself. It’s okay. My feelings aren’t hurt. I’m a big girl.
I’ve decided now that my only defense is to narrow my arsenal down to a few basic recipes our family really enjoys and try to get really good at making those. My main hope is that ten years down the road, if I offer to make my kids their favorite dish from mama’s kitchen for someone’s birthday, they’ll be able to think of something.