“Who knew that the hardest part of being an adult is figuring out
what to cook for dinner for the rest of your life, until you die."
Meme from Facebook.com/DiedLaughing
Many people say cooking is therapeutic and creative and fun.
I don’t get it.
Cooking is just not my creative forte. Back in the day, it troubled me that I was a dud in the kitchen, but I finally accepted the fact that it’s just not where my creativity – and therefore not where my interest – lies.
First, my flavor detectors are stunted. I lack the ability to choose the right spices if I want to customize a dish. Nor can I determine edible substitutions if I’m missing an ingredient. This means, of course, that I have no talent whatsoever in conjuring up anything on the fly.
More importantly, I have no imagination for cooking. I only know three vegetables, really. Corn, green beans and peas. I tried black-eyed peas once or twice. Meh. And okra. Gag. As for meat, I’ve got chicken down pretty good. Fortunately, Ranch Beans and an occasional Idaho spud go with everything, so I’m good there.
Not exactly a testament to creativity in the kitchen.
There’s an old saying attributed to one or more Greek philosophers: “Know Thyself”. Well, I know I’m not a creative cook.
However, I am perfectly able to read a recipe (thank you, Google) and follow directions. Mostly. But I have my standards. So before I attempt to cook anything, I ask myself a few guideline questions:
Does this dish I’m considering require more than five ingredients?
Five is max. Even better if it’s only three, one of which is water.
Does a recipe I’m contemplating include any weird tools or torture devices?
I refuse to get involved with recipes that call for cheese cloth or parchment paper, much less double boilers or chafing dishes.
Am I going to have to perform some weird gyrations in order to feed my family?
Please, no folding, parboiling, reducing, braising, smoking, searing or sweating.
Are the spices at least familiar?
Salt, pepper, dill weed, garlic, sugar, baking soda (is that a spice?), cinnamon. If God wanted me to use cardamom He’d have made it easier to pronounce.
Is it a holiday?
Because if it isn’t, more than three dishes require way too many pots and pans.
Do I have a fallback plan in the event of culinary disaster?
If all else fails, make a sandwich - the perfect dish. All food groups (except chocolate) in one compact package. Magic.
The meme/quote shown at the top of this post is so very me. Thankfully, I’m blessed with a husband who doesn’t care if I cook with any regularity ... or skill. He figures if I served dinner with all the trimmings every night he would be a porker in no time. And my grown children, having been deprived of real food for most of their formative years, learned to cook for themselves – a blessing even if they didn’t see it as a plus at the time.
To all of you fine, imaginative, creative cooks out there, I am envious … and strangely indifferent at the same time. Which reminds me, it’s almost the dinner hour.
Chicken sandwiches and green beans. Yum.