Kitchen Scars

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

One does not live to be 47 without some food here and there, so I have eaten a thing or two most of the days I have spent here, and I must have even prepared a meal or a few in order to have made it this far. And I was not left to forage in the woods behind 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 allowed all my subscriptions to 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, except for my skills at breaking things. This is because I am a physically cautious person, and I was cautious before my walking difficulties rendered me a unique danger with knives, pots of boiling water, or even a tray of sporks. Thus I do not have many zany anecdotes about near-terrible, “Mom, the first thing you need to know is everyone’s safe,” kitchen-disaster-followed-by-heroic-survival stories.

I have burned my hands exactly twice: the first time was in a seventh grade home economics class in which I forgot to put an oven mitt on my hand before removing a cooking tray of snickerdoodles from the oven. The second time I burned my hand came eight seconds later, when I moved that same tray—with the same sizzled hand—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 the process of 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 cutely-named little gluten-and-sugar bombs. But they know what they didn’t do.

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The WordPress Daily Prompt for May 1 asks us to reflect on the word, “Scars.”

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