Off the Table

Cooking is not something that I—what’s the word?—ah, yes: “Do.”

I am 46, so I have eaten a thing or two most of my born days, and I have even prepared a meal or a couple in order to live this long. One does not live to be 46 without some food here and there. And I was not left to forage in the woods beside our house when I was growing up; my mom is an excellent and health-conscious cook. Thanks to her early adoption of a low- and sometimes no-salt kitchen, my heart will probably continue beating long after the rest of me has permanently let all my subscriptions lapse.

This is not to say that I do not remember eating or cooking; oh, I do. My cooking is not memorable, though, in either direction: tasty treat or sublime sludge. I almost envy the good writers who are bad cooks (not as much as I envy the non-writers who are good cooks) because at least something interesting comes from their culinary assaults on taste and decency.

My worst work in the kitchen is memorable in how completely unmemorable it is. The problem is so is my best work.

I do not even have many or any interesting kitchen mishap tales: I am a physically cautious person—I was cautious before my walking difficulties rendered me a unique danger with knives, pots of boiling water, or even a tray of sporks—so I do not have zany anecdotes about near-terrible, “Mom, the first thing you need to know is everyone’s safe,” kitchen survival stories. I have burned my hands exactly twice: once in a seventh grade Home Ec class when I forgot to put an oven mitt on my hand before removing a cooking tray of snickerdoodles from the oven, and the second time, eight seconds later, when I moved that same tray so it would not fall from the spot on which I had dropped it.

(Many years later, a friend asked me if I remembered so-and-so, my seventh grade Home Ec teacher. By name, no, I did not, but we established that her friend and my junior high teacher were the same person. My name had come up and the teacher had asked my friend if my hand was okay. Apparently my lack of a reaction—I said, blandly, “That’s hot,” instead of yell—had stuck with her. There are no scars, but I remember that healing from even the weakest of minor burns hurts like nothing I want to entertain experiencing again.)

I have not had a snickerdoodle in the thirty-plus years since. It isn’t their fault, those cute-named little flour-and-sugar bombs. But they know.

So what I will bring to the Thanksgiving table tomorrow afternoon at my girlfriend’s family’s house is a deep appreciation for the work and love that went into preparing it all, and a big appetite: I haven’t eaten yet today.

The WordPress Daily Prompt for November 26 asks, “What’s the most elaborate, complicated meal you’ve ever cooked? Was it a triumph for the ages, or a colossal fiasco? Give us the behind-the-scenes story (pictures are welcome, of course).”

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One comment

  1. wscottling · November 26, 2014

    I can’t even count the times I’ve burnt my hands. I’m also minus one fingertip and one thumb tip. But that’s okay, the food still tasted good.

    On a completely different note, my mom had a great recipe for snickerdoodles and I haven’t found its equal. I loved baking cookies more than anything and snickerdoodles were one of my favs to make and eat.

    Liked by 1 person

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