Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Bad Reputation

I have a reputation in my family that I can't cook. Or that I don't enjoy it. Or that it's "not my thing." I know where the reputation came from. I have two sisters who cook these amazing several-course meals for all the family. And when it's my turn to plan something I go with pizza, or we go out to eat. Because I'm not about to put myself through the stress of cooking for so many people. And how can I enjoy the party if I'm busy in the kitchen? You see my point, right? Right? Plus there was that angel food cake that I made (from scratch for the first time ever) for my mom's birthday, and it looked so ridiculous (imagine two deformed bricks of angel food cake) that I still cringe when I see the photos. And then there was that time that TC called my split pea soup "crunchy" in front of my family. Good times.

But you all know that I do cook (right? right?). And a good number of the things I try in the kitchen actually turn out. And I enjoy experimenting. So I'm not all terrible.

My reputation is so bad that a few years ago my mom gave me the lamest food assignment for Thanksgiving: a can of corn. Yeah Mom. I think I can handle that. This came after the year that I made homemade rolls for Thanksgiving. :( Sad. My feelings were hurt, I told my mom, she apologized, I forgave her and then felt silly for feeling hurt, and she assigned me a salad. And my salad was such a success (ha, I'd like to think so) that I am often assigned salad at family gatherings.

But here's another indication that my family is sweet, but really truly believes that I can't cook: when I do prepare something for a family gathering (like the key lime pie this weekend), they are more than generous in their praise. They are encouraging, and accidentally say things like, "This is actually really good." And I chuckle to myself. So sweet, but their honest surprise at my success shows through.

I guess it's fair though. They don't know about the apricot cheesecake I made a while back:

Delicious, but the end result was some very uncomfortable gastro-intestinal issues thanks to the dried apricots.

Or the berry cake:

This one was actually tasty, and fairly attractive.

Or my loaded nachos:

Delicious and nutritious.

And they don't know about my other conquests in the kitchen. But I suppose that the fact that I call it a conquest indicates my own surprise at my success. Because perhaps cooking doesn't come naturally to me, but if I work at it I can develop the skills I need to keep my family well fed.

Well, if you ever invite me to a potluck, ask me to bring a salad. Apparently mine are really good.


  1. But really, why would you want to cook for such a critical group? I'm sure your family is lovely, but seriously, if they are going to pick on your cooking, which I can testify is quite good, then who needs the stress.

  2. Everything that you made and brought into work made my tummy happy!

  3. Well the secret is out now. I don't remember seeing that berry cake before, can I have the recipe? It's making my mouth water. Yuuuuum.


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