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Monday, March 28, 2011

Missing Cooking Gene



As I was cooking dinner contemplating what topic to write about I happened to pour WAY too
much basil in my homemade spaghetti sauce. I thought it was a sprinkle but I had taken the whole lid off by mistake and instead of a shake I ended up with about 1/2 cup dumped in the sauce. I was scraping it out when it hit me. I must be missing the cooking gene.
I blame my mom for this. She was always domestically challenged and that is what I grew up with thinking was normal. Our dinners were always very basic and I do not think we even owned any spices because my mom never used them. We always joke with my mom about the time she used fish oil in a cake and the dog would not even eat it! (Please don't kill me mom!!) My first taste of anything different was in elementary school. My best friend at the time invited me over. We were done playing and went in the kitchen and the most amazing aroma was coming out of the over. Fresh baked bread. What! You mean to tell me you can bake it instead of buying it? Huh. Who would have ever thought. That remembrance of that pure bliss carried me though many a bad dinner.
My cooking skills did not improve over the years. I lived on my own and my husband used to lament the fact that I never had any real food. I had mac and cheese, potatoes (I'm Irish so that is a must have staple even if I never know what to do with them!) and the frozen veggies with sauce that you just add cooked chicken. I never liked to cook so I just warmed up the veggies by themselves. After we were married and bought our own house my husband took matter into his own hands by taking over the cooking. He got off of work before I did and it was nice to come home to a great dinner.
Things changed after the birth of my first child. I quit my job to stay home so cooking detail was left to me. I tried getting cookbooks and asking for recipes but I never really got the bug to cook until the cooking channel. I would watch the hosts cook a recipe in 30 minutes with an ease that I was envious of. I would watch as entranced as a kid in front of the old Macy's Christmas window. I was inspired by the cooking channel. And my other mom friends who could whip up a batch of home made tortillas without breaking a sweat. So I would try many different recipes. Some worked. A lot did not. I have a knack for overcooking meat (ok so I burn it!) I thought I was doing better until tonight.
I thought I had at least salvaged the sauce and was proud over the fact that I had made this with real tomatoes. I am a nut for avoiding preservatives and using only fresh ingredients cooking from scratch. I have illusions that will make my cooking better along with the health benefits. I know I am only fooling myself but let me have my illusions :) Anyway as we sat down to dinner I got the looks from my kids and the groans which I have become accustomed to. They tried it and my daughter asked why I couldn't use jar sauce. My son refused to eat it and said he does not like sauce. I asked my husband what he thought and he said it was good for what it was. As I glared at him he mumbled something about how he really couldn't taste because his nose was stuffy. Yeah. Good save.
So what hope do I have? I just have to pray that research finds out why some people are lacking the cooking gene. Maybe one day they will find the missing gene and I will become a brilliant cook. In the meantime there is always pizza!

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