Kitchen Escapades

18 May

Dip. Roll. Shake. Drop. Flip. And Repeat. This was the dance of the shrimp last night as I coated each little critter and fried it to a golden crisp. Cooking has never been my thing. Rerun childhood episodes of  teachers sneering, “What’s cooking, Cook?” will do that to you. (Eyeroll.) Cooks certainly isn’t the world’s worst last name, but it does come with high expectations.

Which ancestor do I have to thank for endorsing Cooks as a surname? Let’s just say I didn’t get that gene.  But what nature doesn’t give can be acquired through a little trial and error. (Fingers crossed).

Fettuccine Alfredo, pizzas, empanadas, omelets, chicken tenders and fried shrimp have been my personal experiments over the last few months.

It all springs from a challenge issued by a date of mine a few months ago. After presenting a platter filled with jerk chicken, beans, and sheperd’s pie (Don’t ask), my date stated he looked forward to eating my cooking. I moaned midchew. My cooking?

Lately, I’ve been meeting many men that wield pots and spatulas with ease. And boast about it. Well, I thought, if a man can do it. . . so can I.

Historically, cooking has lain squarely within a woman’s domain. Images of the aproned mothers setting perfectly crafted before the family has filled the media landscape for years. For the fairer sex, the ability to cook was as much a given as tying shoes.

As a little girl, I watched my mother toil in the kitchen with amazement. To me, it was like magic. Taking the mass of raw goods and transforming them into finished dish before us seemed like something that required pixie dust. Or at least special apron. Sure, I offered the occasional stir. But those days, my main job was as the taster. I eagerly devoured the little morsels of promise and offered feedback.

Fast forward to 2011. I still love to eat and thus must learn my way around the kitchen. Who knew cooking could be so. . .challenging?

It’s chemistry. The right amount of ingredient and the right portion of that. The slightest discrepancy can ruin the entire meal.

It’s project management. I winced at my empanada attempt a few months back. The treat involved simultaneously creating meat filling and pie crusts. Leave it to me to select this dish first.

It’s marketing. Even the most tasty treats will lie untouched if they appear unattractive or smell funny. Presentation is everything.

I have a newfound respect for netted lunchladies and good housewives—those who consistently pump out delectable meals. Perhaps, in time, I too can join those ranks. In the meantime, I’ll settle for simply not disgracing the family name.

Until next time.


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