Love Self

No Prize for Amateur Cooks

Throughout the years, I’ve had numerous experiences in the kitchen. No matter how much I actually cook, I still consider myself an amateur. Most of the sustenance in my adult life was prepared by someone else before I ever heated it up. Processed foods, whether packaged in the dry goods isle or the frozen food section, made up nearly all of my diet.

Enough had changed in my life that after the urging of someone dear to me, I decided to take a more serious look at my diet. Before, I considered heating up spaghetti and sauce as cooking, which it most certainly is. However, I started branching out into a different kind of cooking. I learned about the grocery store layout and how most of what I was eating was from the middle isles of the store.

The outside edges were where the fresh foods were kept. This started me on a different journey in cooking, one that quickly overwhelmed me right from the start. I’ve never been much of a grocery list maker and found out that I was not a planner either. I went to the store and walked around looking at the fresh foods, wondering what to make. It dawned on me I didn’t really have a clue how to make anything fresh, so I opted for a bag of red potatoes and an onion. Certainly, I could figure this out, or so I thought. There weren’t even any instructions. What is wrong with the people who bagged these potatoes. Do they expect us to know what to do with them? Geesh! After my rant, I went online to figure out what to do.

I washed the potatoes first and realized how dirty potatoes actually are when I scrubbed them clean. I knew potatoes came from the ground, but for some reason I never expected to find dirt on them, go figure. I chopped them up into small chunks and placed them on a baking sheet. The first onion I tried was a red one. I always wondered why my favorite cartoon characters cried when cutting onions. I found out quickly when I could barely see through my watery eyes to see what I was doing. I remember the stinging sensation I felt halfway through cutting it. If it would have gotten much worse, I would have thrown the rest of it in the trash. Oh yeah, never wipe your eyes after cutting an onion. I found out that sucks!

I popped it in the oven and later pulled out a baking sheet full of red potato chunks, with scattered slices of red onion. To my surprise, it went well. I ate the results of my first try. That’s when I found out there is no prize for amateur cooks. Despite my best effort to spruce up a potato, it was not quite enough. So, I tried it again another time, this time sprinkling on some parmesan cheese. Then I tried white onion, which burned my eyes while cutting even worse than the red ones. It made me question why I even ate the stuff, wondering if it were secretly toxic. With all the experimenting, I got wild. After retrieving fresh parsley, basil, and garlic, each was scattered on my red potato bake in massive clumps. It was obvious I didn’t know what I was doing. It became apparent more so when I removed the sheet after baking it in the oven. The first whiff of air that puffed out of the oven would have been enough to kill a whole lair of vampires. The entire place filled with the smell of garlic and burnt herbs.

I have another story, but I fear it cannot be properly told. One time my cooking was so wretched that after two bites, my dinner found itself looking up at me from the bottom of the trash can.

Ladies and gentlemen, there is no prize for amateur cooks!

Categories: Love Self

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