I don’t know how to cook, but I’ve decided to face up to it the way Western society has taught me: I’m going to blame my childhood.
My Grade 1 teacher, Mrs. Gerrior, did an excellent job filling me with a fear of the deadly stove, the killer oven, and especially the child-killing pot of boiling water with its handle pointed outward. I can’t even look at a pot on a stove without superimposing a red “X” over top.
With fear sowed in my heart, I approached the oven in my early years gingerly, like it was a lion at feeding time. Grabbing a kitchen chair and a whip would have been entirely appropriate.
I remember trying to make breakfast without getting hot grease to splash onto my flesh, which seemed to happen every morning without fail, even if I was making Corn Flakes.
On top of that, I was born with no spatial skills, so every time I tried to peel a potato or beat cream it caused, at minimum, $400 damage.
It got even worse in junior high because I had to take home economics, which oddly never had anything to do with economics. I think it was called that because the class helps you realize you’ll need to pay for hired help when you grow up if you want to survive.
I was yelled at by the Grade 8 home ec teacher because I washed a sink full of dishes without soap, because I spent five minutes trying to figure out what was wrong with a sewing machine that was unplugged and, when it came to cooking … well, let’s just say my favoured ingredient was tears.
Now here I am, a 34-year-old “culi-nary” who isn’t entirely sure what “broil” means.
My mother, always in touch with needs, just sent me two cookbooks in the mail: Cooking For Men, which features a cover image of a man contemplating an egg in a way that makes you wonder which has the higher IQ. The other book is called, Help! My Apartment Has A Kitchen!
Using these as my guideposts, I plan to face up to my shortcomings and at long last learn how to cook. I’ll start with one of my favourite childhood recipes: I just need two all-beef patties, lettuce, and cheese.
So, where does one buy special sauce?