Culinary Cuisine Catastrophes by Calamity Jeanie

So, it began with my future mother-in-law asking me if I even knew how to cook. Maybe it began with my own mother’s training me how to cook. I mean, she instilled in me the concept that oatmeal raisin cookies were a hearty breakfast. As the oldest of four children, and the fact that Mom liked to sleep in, I was in charge of a “hearty breakfast.” And there’s oatmeal, eggs, butter, raisins, and sometimes nuts in oatmeal raisin cookies. It’s just so logical and right!

So, that’s the first thing I learned to “cook.”

Along came high school and I chose to skip Home Economics for an extra choir class and ended up taking Home Ec for summer school. The teacher assigned us to tables and each table had four students. Each table was further assigned to a course. My table was assigned to desserts.

So my recipe repertoire grew to include pies, cakes, cookies, and the finale was a Baked Alaska! I can throw together a Baked Alaska and have energy left over to go sit on the couch and watch reruns of Desperate Housewives.

When I got married, I was a Junior in college and one of my required classes was Home Economics 101. I got called in towards the end of the quarter because I was. . . . . FAILING!!!!! (And no cooking was involved). I had to convince the teacher that I was indeed domestic, and that I did things like iron my husband’s handkerchiefs and tried to iron his t-shirts but they kept melting into the iron, but I would persist.

Back to cooking. Being struggling and poverty-stricken college students, we went to a wholesale store and bought bulk food by the case. Cases of soup. Cases of fruit. Cases of vegetables. And the ultimate score was a case of Jello. In fact a case of strawberry Jello. A case of raspberry Jello. A case of lemon Jello. And I proceeded to invent about 101 ways you could have Jello. It was whipped, frothed, foamed, layered, fruited, molded, beaten, whisked, fluffed, shaped, diced – you get the idea.

I ventured into the main course cooking routine by following some of my mother’s advice (and I’m forewarning you that I don’t think my mother was a good cook – like you hear all sons around the world claiming that “There’s no home cooking like my mother’s home cooking!”). There’s her famous tuna noodle casserole (Boil noodles, add one can Cream of Mushroom soup (Campbell’s), one cup crushed potato chips, mix into bowl, cover with crushed potato chips, bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes).

Hey, I like it!!! But Mechanic Man’s mother was REALLY a good cook and her idea of tuna casserole involved fresh tuna and nothing from Campbell’s and no potato chips. Eeeeeuuuuu.

So, to answer my future mother-in-law (who is now my ex-mother-in-law), I can do dessert! I am great at dessert!

And I have the main course thing figured out, too. Around time to start assembling all the ingredients for a good dinner, I start out to the kitchen and I mutter to myself out loud (so that Mechanic Man can hear me – this is a must), and I say something like, “I think I’ll do something with hamburger and Cream of Mushroom soup. . .” and Mechanic Man practically tosses his chair over trying to get out of it fast enough to beat me to the kitchen, slamming his hand over the cupboard door that holds anything Campbell’s and he’ll say “Um, I think I’ll start something-something.” And I return to the couch, my job done!

You don’t have to be a cook to have a successful relationship (and I’m not starving!)

~Formerly known as Calamity Jeanie, now Domestic Goddess~


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