I can’t cook.
I know many people say that, but I Really. Can’t. Cook.
The situation is so dire that I’m thinking of possible terms for this condition to submit to the medical lexicon. Should I call it Kitchen Disaster Syndrome? Attention Recipe Disorder?
I’ve always been a lousy meal maker, but I used to maneuver around my shortcoming with a combination of take-out dinners, meals-in-a-box, and frozen-stuff-in-a-bag-that-you-can-dump-into-a-pan meals. But the whole noncooking thing came to a head recently, because for once, I’ve actually been trying to follow recipes. I’ve been really trying. And failing.
Here’s what happens every time I try to cook:
1. I think of what my family and I might want to eat.
2. I search on Yahoo for a recipe, which usually lands me on http://www.recipe.com/.
3. I attempt to follow the instructions.
4. I forget a minor-sounding step.
5. I study the results, which look nothing like the picture on the web page.
6. I bury the evidence and dig up the delivery menus.
It’s that damned Step Four that gets me every time. Even if I print out the recipe and keep it by my elbow, I get distracted during the actual cooking process and leave something out. I leave out something important.
Take last night, for example. I was trying to make Southern Fried Chicken Legs. Not hard, right? Women like me who were raised in the south are born knowing how to make this dish.
I looked up the recipe, printed it and followed it assiduously. The results, however, looked like the shriveled stumps of thousand-year-old chicken mummies. So of course, I reread the recipe with righteous anger. Then I spotted my mistake. I was supposed to have covered the chicken at some point. Probably I was supposed to have covered the chicken at the moment that I was busy dodging ammunition bursts of hot oil droplets that spattered every time I got close to the pan.
So I don’t know. Maybe I’ll keep trying to cure this thing, and learn how to cook. Or maybe I’ll simply give the disorder an official name, like my current favorite, Chronic Inedibility Fatigue. And call it a day.