LAUGHLINES: The Joy(lessness) of Cooking

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I hate to cook and I don’t care who knows it.

I’ve tried to cook. I once cut a few dozen recipes out of women’s magazines, but I’ve yet to make even one. They’re too complicated, they have too many ingredients that I don’t have and don’t want to run out and buy, and frankly, I don’t have the time. I have better things to do, like sleep and — yes, eat.

I don’t have a Cuisinart or a steamer, or a set of professional knives. My oven is electric – no fancy-schmancy gas cooktop stoves for me. No subzero freezer, warming oven, or hanging brass pots that scream “I am a real cook!!”
I don’t have cookbooks, but if I did, I’d be using them to prop up the dresser in my bedroom that’s missing one caster. The kitchen canisters we got as a wedding present 20+ years ago are not in the kitchen filled with flour, sugar or recipes. They’re in the basement, filled with crayons, Legos, and marbles.

Sure, I watch “Top Chef” on cable occasionally, because it’s fun to watch people sling, toss, mash, bash, cube, dice, and slice food, but come on. Are they enjoying it? Looks like a lot of angst to me, but that’s why I’m watching – for the drama.

Give me a regular cooking show, like Rachael Ray’s, and I’m bored to tears. Too much to do, and they make it look easy. And it is, for them, since they’ve got six assistants off camera to prep things, and four versions of the dish, so we don’t have to wait through actual baking times.

(Personal note: Can someone tell RR to tie her hair back? Hell, I’m no cook (see above), but I can tell you that no one working with food should have hair hanging in their face and over the food. Please, toss that woman a scrunchie, will ya?)

I can count on one hand the number of times I’ve attempted to cook. I once made meat loaf, but because Matt eats like a horse, I doubled the recipe. Unfortunately, I quadrupled the salt. I once made pork scallopini, which I heard was fabulous. I didn’t have any, since Claire’s croup flared up and I was in the ER while my guests were enjoying dinner.

So what do we eat at our house, you may ask? Anything on the grill, with Matt doing the honors. I figure man and fire are as basic as you can get, and why stand in the way of Matt’s primitive urge to burn flesh?

Besides, my job is much more important, because while I cannot cook, I can set a mean table.

About Cate Drew

I’m on the high side of 40, with three dogs, two teens and one husband, living in a small New England town in a house that’s never quiet. Ever. It’s not that I have a really colorful life – I just tend to write colorfully about it. And there’s plenty of material: marriage to the Man of a Thousand Bad Ideas,.. my mom, who moved Dad’s coffin closer to the street six months after he died so she could visit his grave as a kind of drive-up window…our dog posse…our kids…lots of siblings and in-laws, former co-workers, old boyfriends -- they’re all here. Toss in 14 years of Catholic school and you’ve got a lot of guilt, too. Which reminds me: forget “high side of 40.” I’m 51, damnit.