Let me preface this entry by saying that I am cooking dinner tonight for my aunt, grandma, brother, sister-in-law, other brother, husband, one child and two other babes will be on hand....
Sound like fun?
Well, could be a disaster.
You see, I am not a great cook. Oh I know I know I can pretend...You know, throw together a mean chicken salad (that's not cooking!), or a nice yummy salad (also not cooking)...But I've not been that great a culinary girl. Sometimes I am even bad at making sandwiches!
You want some examples...
Let me count the ways!
Where to start???
Ummm...Let's see. Oh yes. Let's go here:
When j.b. and I first started 'courting', he had left me in HIS kitchen to prepare the asparagus, while he ran an errand. He was naive and trusting.
Now, that doesn't sound too difficult does it? No. No. Pretty simple. I mean, I didn't actually have to MAKE anything, just boil up a few sprigs of asparagus. No problem!!!
j.b. was not worried.
I was not worried.
Well, when j.b returned and looked at the finished (and perfect if I did say so myself) vegetable, he looked up at me, trying not to look appalled...(j.b has many wonderful qualities, but patience, especially when it comes to cooking and mistakes--mine at least, is not one of them)...
And so he asks, as innocently as he can manage, what I did to the asparagus.
Well, I said matter-of-fact-ly, I did what you asked!
And he's all, Um, have you ever cooked asparagus before?
And I'm like Yah. All the time. And in my head I am wondering what in the who heck could be the issue here! The asparagus looked perfect. Not overdone, not underdone. Perfect.
S, where did the flowers go? And why did you cut the stalks into one inch pieces?
Huh? Wha? I was confused...
Flowers? What are the flowers?
The tops of the asparagus. You know, the part that is edible!!! j.b.'s blood is starting to boil. You know, he never makes a mistake in the kitchen! Truly. Never. So he does not understand what it is like to be me.
For me, every adventure in the kitchen is taken with trepidation. I just know there will be at least ONE mistake. If I haven't forgotten to take the string off the Fillet Mignon, I've forgotten to peel the potatoes before mashing them for the gorgeous mashed potato!
Once, On Valentine's Day, I was working my fourteen hour day at the five star restaurant where I once supervised. Post-shift, I pick up my beautiful Mr. j.b at eleven p.m. I drive him to my house. And I proceed to finish preparing the amazing concoction of a stir-fry that I'd had marinading (in anticipation of tonight's event) for the last three days.
Hey! I was busy!
I didn't know foods would start to cook themselves and likely go bad if they were left marinading too long!
And so I throw together my carefree, artistic, wonderful stir-fried dish and serve it to my lovely boyfriend at midnight.
Did I mention I had been on my feet, serving romantic meals and overlooking all things restaurant (which if you've ever worked in one, you know is a mighty stressful balancing act -- one must always be on her toes and prepared for all matter of incidences)!!!?
So I am feeling all proud of myself.
What a good girlfriend am I!
Until I notice j.b. is picking at his dinner. Now, to see j.b., is to know he likes to eat...He has a sweet little belly that tells the tale. To sit at a meal with j.b. is to know he loves almost all food and he is very vocal about what he's eating. There's a problem if you don't hear a guttural 'mmm. oh. yumm. mmm oooh...'...It can almost become obnoxious!
So when I notice he's picking. And he's not making any noises. And he's avoiding eye contact. I realize there's a problem.
You don't like it I say.
No....it's not that.... he pleads...still not looking at me.
Be honest. You don't like it. I am like the black-widow spider, setting him up in a very deadly trap: because if he lies, he's in for big trouble. If he tells the truth, he's in even bigger trouble.
He is still not looking at me...He pushes the food around with his fork...And he asks a question I will come to appreciate as a given before every meal I cook for him: Where did you get the recipe?
I was like, Recipe! Recipe? I. am. an. ar-teest!Only amateurs use recipes! And so we discuss the perils of letting meat marinade too long...I sit there, silently, I am seething on the inside, but poised on the outside, as he patronizingly tells me how to cook a meal!
Again. I am an AR-TEEST. Culinary rules DO NOT APPLY to me!!!
So I begrudgingly and slowly rise from the table, (feigning patience and understanding), and I take his plate and mine. I walk purposefully into the kitchen, ensuring he is watching my every move.
I take the garbage out. And I throw both plates in. With Conviction.
Oh the statement I was making.
And we proceed to ignore each other for the next hour. Did I mention I had worked all day? And was trying to enjoy a romantic midnight meal?
Oh yeah. I was pissed.
So then j.b. comes around and says -- Um. I'm sorry... But truly, what can he say? What is he to be truly sorry for? Not eating something that would have likely made him severely sick?
I see there is a cake that you baked there. Can we try that? He asks in a meek voice. He is trying...
Okay. This is good. He's giving me a second chance to prove my prowess --
Okay, sure, I say, not giving away any emotion.
So I serve up the cakes and we take our first bite -- both of us take huge bites as if trying to make some important statement: he about his confidence in me and me about my own confidence in me...
He looks at me forlornly....And he dares -- dares -- dares!!!! to ask: Is this cake supposed to be crunchy?
Now. I will let you presume how the rest of this Valentine's went.
Now you know that my dutiful husband did not marry me for my wonderful culinary expertise. And you might remember that he also did not marry me for my house-making skills.
And I did not marry him for his patience at my shortcoming(s).
I will leave it to you to guess why he fell madly, deeply, and crazily in love with me...
So tonight I am cooking a feast of pea meal bacon, scalloped potatoes, homemade baked barbecued beans, and salad. To nine people. Can we all presume how this might end?
I have already entered the kitchen cautiously. AND I have already made MY ONE mistake: I took out a roast pork NOT the pea meal bacon. So the roast pork is thawed and ready. And the pea meal is not. Hm. But hopefully, I realized this fact early enough to resolve it. Phew. Conflict averted!
I have never made any of the aforementioned foods. Though I AM using a recipe...
Everyone arrives at five...
Everyone arrives at five...
Wish me luck!
Or maybe you should wish them luck...
Though my family does know me. They Know my foibles in the kitchen. They've even been witness to and participants in my many mistakes.
God love them for coming back for more...
And I am sure you appreciate my hubby on a whole new level, too:-)
-- to second, third, fiftieth chances! And to not dying at the hand of me!
oh. and p.s. this is my kinda girl:
Although I've even messed up Rice Krispie squares.