Listen, I’ve tried. I really have. I’ve given it my all, but it just doesn’t work for me. No matter how many Tasty videos I watch, it just brings me back to my one real truth.
I hate cooking.
There, I’ve said it—Sisterhood of the Traveling Apron be damned. I know this immediately renders me a lesser woman. I just don’t get this fascination with cooking. Oh right, let me spend hours in the grocery store, paying hundreds of dollars on random ingredients I’ll only use once. Then let me haul ripping bags of bullshit from cart to car, car to counter, counter to cabinet—all the while leaving a trail of canned goods from Shop-N-Save to my fridge in case, god forbid, I forget my way next time. And then can I please, please spend the rest of my day in the kitchen, trying not to cut off my hand with the mincing slicer and burning the shit out of food even though I followed Every.Damn.Word on the recipe. Yeah, sign me up for that.
Believe me, I want to be a good cook. I want to be like Jill and whip up a foie gras so amazing, other people’s husbands salivate just at the mention of it. Jill is an amazing cook. Every day she engineers magnificent, Insta-worthy meals so healthy and delicious, her cheering family practically carries her out of the kitchen on their shoulders each night.
Part of me wants to be Jill. The other part just wants to call GrubHub.
I always start out with such good intentions, I really do. But by the time I’ve blanched my last thingamabob and braised the last whoosit, I’m so over culinary crafting I practically Frisbee plated meals to an audience full of blood-thirsty food critics with the venom of a chakram thrower.
Jill is famous for saying things like, “I only can relax when I cook!” Seriously, Jill? Have you ever heard of binge-watching Bachelor with a box of wine? You’re welcome to come over and “relax” up a dinner for me while I sit on the couch, swirling my Sauvignon and yelling at Colton for giving a rose to the house bitch. Again.
Jill has a system she likes to call “Dinner Roulette”. She writes recipes on rolodex cards and on the back she records her family’s post-meal reactions. She files them under easy-reference tabs such as “Chicken”, “Fish” and “Tofu”. (Tofu? Oh, heck no, that won’t fly for my carnivor, unless I wanna wake up to him gnawing on my leg). Then it’s a quick spin of the rolodex to the appropriate tab every night.
I didn’t believe her about her family’s comments, so she showed me.
“Best meal ever!”
“The chard was to die for!”
“I never knew Octopus could taste this good!”
One after the other, the cards read like TripAdvisor reviews.
This comes as no surprise as Jill has been blessed with a family of non-picky eaters. Her husband will eat anything that swims, runs, jumps, flies, comes up from the ground, falls out of a tree, can be peeled from your front grill or found roadside. Her kids eat veggies without bribes, think kale chips are junk food and would rather eat fruit than Fruit Loops.
I’ve been blessed with none of the above. My husband survives on a diet of beef and Swedish Fish. He’s picky and, worse—lactose intolerant—which means everything new, cheesy or creamy is out. My daughter is on rotating fad diet, one week avoiding white foods; the next, things with legs. This week, it’s foods that begin with “K”.
Nonetheless, I decided to give dinner roulette a shot.
On Monday, fresh from a weekend of take-out and endless hours on Pinterest, my goals are high and I’m ready to kill it in the kitchen. Tonight, I’m whipping up a healthy meal of fish and veggies. Yay me!
Recipe: Parmesan-crusted Halibut and Caramelized Brussels Sprouts
Comments: “What are these stinky balls?” and “Did you fish this out of the Schuylkill?”
I do not speak to my smartass family for the rest of the evening.
The following day, I think okay, so they’re not into fish. What are they into? Taco Bell, of course! I found a colorful Mexican dish on Pinterest.
Recipe: Spice-rubbed Pork Chops, Spanish Rice and Garlic Pinto Beans
Comments: “What are the pink things in this yellow stuff?” and “You don’t have to make that anymore!”
I retreat for a bath, to relax. In a vat of boiling water. Ahhh.
WTF – it’s only Wednesday? My patience is wearing thin, but I have at least two more meals I’ve got to pull out of my ass before I can make a take-out break this weekend. Oh, I know—I haven’t made grilled chicken for a while! I’m fresh out of veggies, so this can of beans should do.
Recipe: Grilled chicken (slightly burned) and a can of baked beans (stuck to the pan)
Comments: “How do I get these beans out of the pan?” and “Grilled chicken…again?”
Yes, because apparently that’s all I ever make. Can you blame me? Throw it on the grill, turn it once and—voila! I find that chicken pairs well with resentment and martyrdom. And pan-stuck beans.
“Why do I even cook for you professional complainers?” I bitch. Meanwhile, I’m secretly scraping the uneaten remains from my plate into the bin because, they’re right—it’s crap.
Jill calls—she needs to get out of the house. Yay, Jill! My new favorite person. I guess all that culinary perfection is exhausting. I agree — I too am exhausted from all that non-perfection. Whatev. Thirsty Thursday it is.
Recipe: Fend for yourselves, bitches!
Yes, I knew it! Take that, haters! I have to admit delicious spite as I envision them floundering about in the kitchen, wondering what to do without me. Eat week-old leftovers? Capture small game in the backyard? Starve to death? But leave it to Hero Dad, who pulls through at the last minute with heaping bags of Chick-Fil-A crack. A nugget party ensues. When I get home, they try to act like they missed me—all the while throwing waffle fries into each others’ mouths and stifling giggles from their CFA high. I can’t win.
… it’s Fuck-it Friday
Recipe: Pizza Delivery
Comments: “Yay, mom—you really deserve a break from cooking!” and “Finally, something I can eat!”
Friday is pizza night and thank God—I’m exhausted from cooking all week. Pizza involves nothing more than a phone call, followed by a hefty tip and friendly bantering with the pizza guy so he won’t break into our house later that night and murder us in our sleep.
Thankfully, Jill has invited us over to her house for dinner. No doubt, she’ll whip up something perfect, my family will love it and my husband will later whisper sweet somethings in my ear, like, “How about you try to make Jill’s dish this week?”
Then I’ll dice him into tiny pieces with my mincing slicer, saute with bacon and shallots and serve with a side of justification (garnished with promise of a light prison sentence).
…I’ll serve him to Jill.