I have heard that knowledge is not necessarily knowing, but rather…knowing where to find it! I have let that small piece of wisdom carry over into the way I feel about my cooking expertise…or lack thereof… It seems that cooking is just not my forte. However, my justification for this shortcoming is that I do possess the capacity for “knowing” where and how to find yummy food. There are two choices: I can have it conveniently delivered to my door or a painless “drive by” pick up—simple as that. In my defense, I did manage to provide my sons with substantive meals, but admittedly my kitchen disasters forced me to pick up the phone to order pizza at times…fortunately, their favorite meal. The pizza deliverer became our friend and he even sent us a Christmas card once.
The conversation with the pizza company would go a little something like this: “This is Hunter…again.” (a slight pause…was that laughter?) They would then say, “Large pepperoni, right? Our usual pizza deliverer also worked part time at the grocery store. I saw him one day in the store and he asked me how my little white dog was doing. I remember feeling a slight urge that I should, perhaps, try putting on that apron once again…nah…the urge is over…maybe later….
I tell my friends to never recite recipes to me orally because I can’t absorb and process it. I respond in an immature, “singsongy” manner with my fingers stuck in my ears saying, “I’m not listening…la dee da dee da!” Recipes mean nothing to me because I never follow them accurately anyway. If I get in the middle of a dish and I realize I’m missing an ingredient, I justify it by thinking, “How important could it be anyway?” And I continue making the dish. So, there you have it, the recipe (so to speak) behind all my cooking disasters.
My mother gave me a cake recipe once (not spoken orally, thank goodness, but in the written format that had an ever –so- slight possibility of actually being followed…or not?). It was called the Never Fail Pound Cake. She was certain that it would be a guaranteed success, along with a dash of cooking self-confidence for me. However, I failed miserably at my many attempts, although I do believe I invented a new batter consistency that may be of interest to scientists. It was something between rubber and duct tape—sturdy and sticky. I think I’ll put it in my car to use as a tire in case of a flat. It could be called a Never Fail Tire.
I am in awe of a friend who loves to cook and of her amazing kitchen creations. She brought a delicious meal to me once that was so divine and I briefly wished for the same skill. (oops…there it went again…) I used a twist from Jack Nicholson’s line in “As Good As It Gets” when I told my friend, “You make me want to be a better cook.” When my jokester son was young, he once said after a cooking disaster, “Don’t worry Mama, we’ll just forage!” (had to chuckle over that one!)
My sons may not have memories of their mom in a starched white apron with yummy pies cooling on the window sill as the roast cooks simultaneously (can’t fathom how you coordinate that, anyway) No, they’ll remember their mom emerging through a cloud of smoke as the deafening fire alarms ring while I’m serving a plateful of Never Fail Tires.
So… after admitting my cooking shortcomings to this audience of readers en masse, I would like to throw another contemplative thought into the pot (pun intended) My sons will remember (and I hope they’ll smile when they do) that I may not have been a fabulous chef, but instead I was more like the steady light fixture in the kitchen through all the trials and joys of raising them—a secure, grounded, fixture with my listening light on at all times…as moms do best. I would like to think that it will be a comforting memory—one with the recipe that is perfectly measured with all the necessary ingredients and, more importantly, a solid aftertaste of cherished memories that will last forever…
Personalized copies of my books may be purchased by clicking on the link on the home page of email me at email@example.com.