Cooking is for the birds

Did you read my last post about cooking my first turkey? The sub-text, which I skipped over when I realized how much I had to say about the turkey experience itself, is that I don’t like to cook. I blame my mother.

I love my mom. I think she did a great job, considering what she had to work with. When friends talk about how lacking their own mothers are, I offer to lend them mine so they can get whatever it is they didn’t get from theirs. I feel very lucky in the mom department. But when it came to cooking, she fell down on the job. Mind you, we weren’t starving. She knew how to cook and she did feed us, but from my perspective she wasn’t enjoying it. (She may, of course, have a different take on the subject and she’s welcome to comment if she feels the need.) Having observed that cooking was a thankless task, I had no compelling desire to learn how to do it. Then I met Andrew.

On our third date, he made dinner for me at his apartment. I remember sitting in his kitchen in Somerville, drinking the wine I’d brought and eating the goat cheese he’d put out for me to munch on while he bustled about. The meal started with tomato soup, and he served roasted tomatoes with the entrée. I don’t like tomatoes, but I was impressed with his culinary skills. I congratulated myself on having found a man who was not only handsome, smart, and funny, but could cook. When he found out that I was a take-out kind of gal, he was disappointed. I decided to step up my cooking.

Then I met my future mother-in-law and I began to feel like I was living inside a bad joke with the punch line, “not as good as his mother makes it.” My MIL is an outstanding cook. I was intrigued, and a little annoyed. Particularly because, after committing to the long-term relationship, I discovered that Andrew didn’t actually do much cooking. He had cleverly dangled the possibility that he would cook as bait and I had swallowed the hook.

During our double-income-no-kid years, cooking never posed much of a problem. Between Andrew’s penchant for pizza and my love of Chinese food we could go for weeks without turning on the oven. Then we had Hannah and we had to confront the subject all over again. Although Andrew argued that pizza provided a balanced meal, Hannah never developed a taste for it, and before she had teeth who could blame her?

I managed to perfect half a dozen suitable dinners and before long my loving daughter learned to say, “That again?” When I picked her up after school, she would ask what we were having for dinner and then express her dismay. I started sticking my fingers in my ears when I saw her coming. While my repertoire has increased, and Hannah’s taste buds (and manners) have developed, dinner remains somewhat problematical at our house and frankly, I don’t expect it will ever get any better. I just don’t enjoy cooking.

If after reading this you’re feeling bad for my mom, don’t. One day Hannah will write about what an abysmal model she had for cooking and my mom will have the last laugh.


6 responses to “Cooking is for the birds

  1. You left me laughing! I can so relate to putting your fingers in your ears when the kids ask what is for dinner! Mine start arguing with me. Most days when they ask what is for dinner, I now say food, something you will like! Then I hope and pray they do or I am going to hear it! LOL

  2. For the record, the menu I provided for the three of us this past weekend in Vermont included:
    – pasta with home-grown, roasted butternut squash, red pepper flakes, lemon zest and crumbled feta
    – goat cheese and mushroom tart with grated potato and parmesan crust
    – swiss chard pie with onion and hard-boiled eggs
    – roasted corn and avocado salad with feta
    – normandy apple tart with cream and brandy custard
    – huevos rancheros with sour cream, green chile and cilantro

    I admit this was just a bit out of the ordinary for me, and left Judy dumbfounded, but in fact it was fun.

    • Yes, I wrote that post *before* we went away and scheduled it to appear automatically. I was horrified when Andrew began rolling out his marvelous menu. And as if that weren’t crow enough for me to eat, my mother made a phenomenal garlic/chickpea spread for her New Years Day soiree. Next week I shall write about falling on my sword.

  3. Personally, I never understood the point of cooking. If I’m hungry, I want to eat. If I’m not hungry, why cook?

    The only reason I do cook when I do is to have more control over the taste of the food and the content. But then when it goes wrong I have only myself to blame instead of, for example, Trader Joe’s.

    My current boy toy used the same strategy to hook me on the third date. An incredible homemade moussaka, which covers all the taste bases: sweet, meaty, sour, salty, tangy. Then he gave me leftovers for two work lunches, so I’d have to think about him at work and have coworkers comment “That smells good” when I heated them up in the microwave.

    He still cooks, but also takes me out to dinner.

    I am getting fat.

    Is it all part of some diabolical plan? Hmm…

  4. Loved this story! When I was first married, I did the traditional thing and tried my hand in the kitchen. Later, I developed a chronic health problem and my husband took over. My son and I were delighted to find that he was an excellent chef! Apparently my cooking paled beside his efforts and now I have to remind both him and my son from time to time that I do have some cooking skills.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s