Like most children, I played chef. I’d press my Play-Doh ® into cookie-shapes and make “cakes” in my sandbox. My mother and I regularly watched a cooking show on one of the local television stations. I watched my mother prepare meals and I even took a 4-H cooking class. However, none of that really taught me how to cook or bake.
Did you notice how I described what my mother did in the kitchen? I wrote that she prepared meals, which is far different from cooking or baking. My mom would rather be outside weeding or pruning than inside cooking or baking (truth be told, she would’ve rather spent her days water-skiing!). She took full advantage of all the time saving ways to prepare meals. Fry a chicken? Why go to all that trouble when you can buy pre-fried frozen chicken, pop it in the oven and dinner’s ready in about 45 minutes. Almost anything frozen or in a box was her favorite way to tackle dinner.
Mom made most of our birthday cakes (she’s famous for her pineapple upside down cakes), but they all came from a box mix. She usually made her own frosting, but other than that, it was all from a box.
My grandma, her mother, was a great cook and baked wonderful breads and rolls. I loved the warmth and heavenly aroma of her house when she baked. She could grab the most interesting ingredients and make something incredible! Mom’s younger siblings are good cooks, especially her brother. I’m sure my mom must have observed her mother cooking and baking, but for some reason, she never emulated her mother’s domestic talent.
So, I suppose it’s not surprising that I am not a good cook. I remember making pancakes for me and the husband one Saturday morning shortly after we were married. They weren’t good. I tried a few more times without any luck and turned to mom’s solution – Eggo® waffles.
Oh, I can make a few things, well. The husband likes his mother’s chicken and rice recipe and her chicken enchiladas. Those turn out well, but I’ve never mastered her meatloaf. If he wants her meatloaf, he asks her to make it.
I’ve come to terms with my lack of culinary skills and usually just stick to my strengths. However, I recently came across a recipe that looked really good and really easy. I correctly followed the directions, used all the correct ingredients, and popped it in then oven at the correct temperature for the correct amount of time. It should’ve looked like the picture, right? Wrong!
Maybe I should have just picked up some pre-fried frozen chicken.
My cooking *finesse level: Novice Advanced beginner Competent Proficient Expert
What’s your cooking finesse level? *finesse (skill, flair, grace elegance, poise, assurance)