Seriously. I hate it.
The very last thing I want to do after being at school or interning all day is preparing the food I’ll soon be devouring. Just fill me up so I can get back to the next essay on religious conflict in India.
Besides my dread in relinquishing time to anything but school (call me a nerd, but I love it), I also blame two particular institutions for turning me adverse to the culinary arts.
The first would be my university. Arizona State University offers a variety of fast food options that I can charge all too easily right to a meal plan. By fast food, I don’t necessarily mean Burger King and Subway. We’re talking cafeteria food, buffet style.
I usually dine at Barrett, the Honors College at my university, and they have everything from salads to soups to burgers to sandwich stations to pizza to “home style” meals to made-before-your-eyes stir-fry to blood orange gelato.
Why in the world would I like to make food if I have THAT at my disposal? (Granted, it’s not gourmet quality, but I’ll take it if I can get all that food in 5 minutes. Back to that essay.)
The second would be my parents. Which seems severely ironic because my father is employed at a culinary institute and my mother makes pretty tasty food. But that’s just the thing: One is around food all day so would rather do any other activity upon returning home, and the other abhors cooking.
Maybe my antipathy is genetic?
So when Cherylene, my roommate from college, wanted to visit this summer and cook, I’m glad she wasn’t physically on my end of the phone to witness my painfully grimaced, “sure.”
On the menu was the “Best Macaroni and Cheese EVER,” hummus, and Vanilla-Strawberry cupcakes. A nicely crafted, apparently easy to do menu.
We started off the race with these optimistic, joyous faces.
Then, just buying the ingredients was an adventure (four packets of Kraft cheddar cheese, a failed attempt at locating affordable tahini for the hummus, and a 10:30pm run in an empty Safeway for cake flour later…). At home I couldn’t find the correct dishware (in my own house mind you)- a pot for the pasta, a pan for the sauce, cupcake tins for dessert.
Cooking noodles is about the easiest thing you can make that doesn’t involve a microwave or a cereal bowl. Of course, not for me! My rationality to speed up the noodles was to put the lid on the pan. If you have remotely any knowledge about how heating things up, you probably know what happens next.
Water started exploding out like some hurricane that was bent on flooding my kitchen. AHH!
Stressed, my hatred for cooking mounting by the second, I completely lose it and scurry around my kitchen, frantically trying to figure out what to do.
Cherylene, literally the calmest person I know except when in the presence of a Josh Hutcherson photo, starts laughing at me while removing the lid and turning down the flame.
Kitchen under control again. Phew. The race is on.
Fast forward one hour later, we’re at the finish line. I bite into my gooey/crunchy creation, just praying it isn’t the best macaroni and cheese NEVER, and
It’s amazing. Absolutely delectable.
In that moment, I actually felt a glimmer of hope. Could it be possible that I don’t hate cooking as much as I thought I did? Especially when the reward, a restaurant level version of mac and cheese, is so attainable (and yummy)?
Then the oven timer went off for the cupcakes, and released from my stupor, I decided that I just really can’t love cooking right now.
But it’s warming up to me, so to speak. Just warming on low flame, without a lid.
All Hail People Who ❤ to Cook,
P.S. If you’re curious as to how I actually cooked something relatively delicious, the BEST recipe for the BEST mac and cheese: