It all looks so pleasant, so soothing and warm. Lazily breading chicken cutlets, whipping sauces in perfect copper pans. Separating egg yolks quietly in the kitchen with a content smile. The sounds and smells enveloping the hearth and home of loved ones and friends.
It all looks wonderful — until my dish towel catches fire. I have started kitchen fires with gas and electric stoves. Smashed eggs on the floor, whether they be tile or hardwood. Sure, salt is the perfect broken egg — picker upper. Ever tried it?
I don’t care how expensive or showy the knives are — I am going to be sporting a band-aid. Somehow the perfect copper pans just look dusty in my house.
My family likes it when I cook. I think they forget in between accidents (meals) of the inherent dangers of me in a kitchen.
I have good knives, expensive pots and pans, slow cookers, woks, platters, braisers, basters. I have all the right tools. Oddly enough I even have some of the skills. I can separate eggs yolks (the ones not on the floor) without gadgets, I can make a Bechamel sauce, I can mash, slice, dice and follow simple instructions… like a recipe.
Why then is there very little result for all the pots, pans, knives, whisks, colanders, gravy boats, plates, paring knives, garlic crushers and the general disaster that is now my kitchen?
Just food, sure it’s home made — my husband makes all the right appreciative noises, until he sees the overflowing sink.
Tastes good enough, if I didn’t have to live through the drama. Every now and again, I will not instinctively change the channel when a cooking show comes on. It looks so relaxed — nobody is wearing bandages or throwing a dish towel under the faucet, shrieking obscenities. Even their voices are soothing. How does one make a roast chicken that is both tasty and calm. I have burnt my finger on the oven (top of the line — mind you) just thinking about making a roast anything.
I love food, I love eating. I just enjoy eating what others have made more than I enjoy personally leaning against the counter, peeling potatoes or dreamily smiling as my sauce starts to simmer. I am bored. I believe I can taste the disinterest, I just don’t care enough.
I really don’t want to lather butter and garlic on a whole chicken, I have seen Chef! and watched Helen Mirren and I don’t want to make that 100-foot journey. While watching a movie I get romanced into thinking I love the feel and smell of a truffle or a mushroom. No, I only like the taste of it all — thats it. I would rather talk to people, read a book, work on an idea or follow a thought in my head than command the kitchen.
My friends seem to all be wonderful calm cooks, they create tasty dishes without a seeming care in the world. They languorously mince garlic, flip chicken fillets without hot oil splashing on their hands. They cook with love, you can taste the love. I cook with annoyance. I get side tracked, I lose interest and mentally wander off. This must be the reason for the culinary disasters. Although they are really more just personal injury than disaster.
When asked to bring a dish, I feel like a deer in the headlights — I always panic, knowing that it will be a dangerous event involving fire, blood and strangely… utensils disappearing as I use them. My kitchen gadgets are like Elf on the Shelf — except they don’t wait till I am asleep. I will use the tip of a knife, the tines of a large fork, a meat thermometer, a damn platter — for literally seconds, put it down next to me, only to find it has jumped over to another counter, at the critical moment as I need them, which now involves bodily involvement, trying to corral the damn elves back into close range without endangering myself and burning down the house.
I come to the table sweating, flustered, red in the face, close to tears and without a sliver of hunger. Frankly, I don’t want to even look at the food now.
Ask me to write a presentation, help you start a business. write your book report – get you on Pinterest, sell your house, design your house, show you which walls I would take down, but please God don’t ask me to make anything. Because frankly, I make more of a police crime scene than the few morsels of food that I create. Apparently my portion control is off, I am haunted by cries from my family of “why didn’t you make more”? It always looked so much more when I start — the elves must take large portions for themselves to their hideaway counters.
The only thing worse in all this… I am not skinny, is there no culinary justice?
One of Carolynn’s Huffington Post blogs