On Cooking

I wish I could cook. My mom is a great cook. My dad is a great cook. Both of my grandmas are great cooks. I don’t know what happened to me. I like the idea of cooking. I really enjoying baking. But every time I try to cook a meal, it always seems to end in disaster. For example:


Friday my parents stopped by for lunch. I decided to make calzones. My parents called as they were leaving the house, giving me plenty of time to have a hot meal waiting for them when they arrived.


First, I cut my finger chopping the spinach.


Then, the kitchen started filling up with smoke. I wasn’t even cooking yet—just pre-heating. Apparently something had dripped in our oven the last time we used it (and we do use it fairly often—thankfully Andy loves to cook). I opened the oven door and more smoke filled the kitchen. I called Andy. No answer. I opened windows. I called my dad. He told me to put on an oven mitt and clean it with a wet towel as carefully as I could. My mom got on and asked if I had a self-cleaning oven. I have no idea if I have a self-cleaning oven. I think, though, having lived in this house for almost fours years, I should know if I have a self-cleaning oven or not.


At this point Sophie’s screaming for attention. And the house is freezing. And filled with smoke. So I gather Sophie up, put her hat on, give her a pastry brush to play with and sit her on the kitchen floor. I go back to the recipe. The next step? Brush olive oil on the top of the calzones. I look at Sophie. I look at the recipe. I use my fingers to brush the olive oil on the dough.


My parents claimed their calzones were good. I didn’t think mine was all that bad. But Andy, who had his for dinner, could only eat the edges. The middle was a doughy mess. So he had a bowl of cereal instead.

“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.” —Harriet van Horne