(Proof that I one time cooked dinner)
Every week, as my room mates and I compile a list of things to get at the grocery store, I exclaim, “I think I will try to cook something this week!”. And, inevitably, the week goes by, and the only thing I officially cooked was popcorn from the popcorn popper (but, hey, I also melted butter in the microwave to use as my topping).
I get made fun of all the time for my inability to cook. One time, I invited this guy I liked over to my house. I got hungry when he was on his way over, so I threw a frozen pizza in the oven. And, then he got there, so I turned the oven off, hoping the pizza would just continue cooking. Yup, we ate cold frozen pizza. Another time, I wanted to cook breakfast for my friends. All of a sudden, the smoke detectors started going off and there was a big plume of smoke on the stove. Nevertheless, we ate cereal instead. Or, the time my only job for Thanksgiving dinner was to put the sweet potatoes in the oven. As I slipped them in, the dog ran away, I went to chase her, we came back, and about ten minutes later, the house started smelling like burning plastic. Yup, I forgot to take the plastic lid off everyone’s beloved sweet potatoes (let’s just say I wasn’t even allowed to sit at the kid’s table that year). And, I once baked my family cupcakes. After they were all eaten, I asked, “Who got the one with the special surprise on the bottom?!” I think I had watched Martha Stewart or something, who suggested writing love notes and secretly putting them in the bottom of the cupcakes. Yup, some unsuspecting family member ate my love note. I don’t even want to know what happened next.
However, today I would like to defend myself as to why I have a tiff with cooking:
First of all, my diet is very, very strange. My favorite foods include: pineapple, ice cream, popcorn, honey mustard pretzels, and cucumbers (but only the pre-wrapped English kind, not the ones I actually have to peel and slice). Most of the time, I navigate my life like a chicken with her head cut off. I often wake up too late for a gourmet breakfast, throw a bunch of pre-packaged snacks in the lunchbox my dad got me for Christmas (a jar of peanut butter and pretzels made it in there one time), and often get home way past dinner time, of which the popcorn popper and slices of lunch meat seem to suffice for ‘dinner’. On Saturdays, I go to yoga first thing in the morning (of which you do NOT want to go with a full stomach), and on Sundays, I usually save my meal for a post-church brunch. So, there really is not need to cook, because there is no time to cook.
Second of all, being a single-ite, there REALLY is no need to cook, because there is no one else TO cook FOR. I always find it an economical waste of my time to (a) spend 30 minutes grocery shopping, (b) spend 60 minutes cooking something, (c) spend 45 minutes scrubbing the pans I burnt just to enjoy a “gourmet” meal that takes me all of 5 minutes to scarf down. No thanks, I would rather just spend 2 minutes to open the bag of carrots, squirt the ranch dressing out of the bottle, and call it ‘dinner’, and then spend the rest of the time that would-be-cooking updating my InstaGram or pinning housewifey stuff to my “For a Time Far, Far Away” board.
Third of all, as my grandma pointed out to me, cooking, like any activity, is more enjoyable when you have nicer toys. Like, shooting archery is more fun when you have a really, really nice composite bow with the really, really nice scope. And, mixing music is WAY more enjoyable when you have something more advanced than the free Audacity download. Even books are more fun to read when you have the ‘premium, remastered for release, fake gold-leafed edges’. But, as a recent college graduate, the first thing that comes to my head when I get paid is not, “Oh, I should go to Bed, Bath, and Beyond to buy that really nice potato masher for $15!” Rather, it is more like, “Now I can finally afford to replace those ugly brown dress shoes off the clearance rack since mine smell like moldy cheese”, or, “I suppose it’s time to take my car into the dealership to figure out what the horrible noise is coming from”. Perhaps when I get married, I can put all of those nice cooking toys on my registry, and then my husband and I can bond over all the cool stuff the Kitchen-Aid mixer can do (um, such as how far can the cake batter splatter when put on turbo speed?…)
And lastly, it has nothing to do with the fact that I CANNOT cook. I am perfectly capable of reading a recipe and following directions. I have successfully made stuff before. However, where my cooking often goes wrong is that I start boiling the water, get distracted because some horrible song just came on my Pandora Country Station that I need to skip IMMEDIATELY, then I see the dog chasing a chicken in the backyard so I must intervene to save the chicken’s life, then I see someone on Facebook recently got engaged so I must stalk that, and suddenly, the water is boiling, the noodles are NOT in the pan, and everyone comes home, starving, and it looks like we are eating carrots from the bag and popcorn, again. Oops.
All in all, it is not my inability to cook, but rather my desire. Someday, when I am a stay-at-home girlfriend, I will be more than happy to be Betty Crocker Britany and spend my days, reading recipes, clipping coupons, and preparing shrimp and shallots. But, until then, I will just stick to eating my bag of carrots and popcorn (and thank God for my grandma’s house for when I need a home cooked meal).