I was babysitting a few weeks ago, and the mother of the babes told me that the chicken fingers and fries were in the freezer and to just “put them in the oven around 6.” I guess my look of complete panic was visible, because she looked at me quizzically as I said “For…how long?” She sadly smiled and said “Boy, you weren’t kidding when you said you don’t cook, were you?”
I wasn’t kidding. I don’t cook. I can microwave, but even that once ended with me in the burn unit. That’s not an exaggeration, I still have a four inch scar on my arm. I don’t cook, and that firmly plants me, a 39 year old woman, in the “Not An Adult” tent, and don’t worry, I know I belong there. I have a significant amount of shame about it, but in my grown-up years I had only an actual kitchen that I didn’t share with other questionable adults for about 5 years. I cooked a bit during that time, but it’s not in my blood, and I am fully aware of that. There is no pride in my lack of skills, that’s reserved for my food ORDERING skills, of which I have plenty. I can order food like no one’s business. I can microwave leftovers. I can watch Food Network. But actual cooking, from a recipe? Totally bewilders me.
Now, this presents more of a problem than just “I eat like a frat boy.” I do eat like a frat boy. But not cooking means higher cost of food, and less healthy options. Add in the slowing metabolism of my aging body and it doesn’t bode well for my internal apparatus. But there are many excuses I cling to in my delusion that being almost 40 and without a basic life skill isn’t that big of a deal. I am not responsible for the feeding of anyone else in my life, and cooking for one, at least for me, is depressing as all get out. Why dirty pots and pans and take more than five minutes to cook something when no one else is there to appreciate it or eat it with me? I can microwave some Perdue select pieces and dump salsa on it and proclaim it “Spanish Chicken” but I’d only be lying to myself. I call it “the same crap I eat three times a week because it’s cheap and easy.” Someone should block Food Network from my television, because I don’t deserve it.
The strange thing is that I love food. This pathetic tidbit into my life isn’t because I don’t like, or care about what I eat. I love good food. I jump at the chance to visit my parents so I can eat my mom’s home cooking. She’s a great cook, and I must have been behind the door when they were passing along traits, because I didn’t get her prowess at all. I have burned rice. I have burned simple “put this package of stuff into a skillet and simmer for 12 minutes” food. I have, as I stated above, severely burned MYSELF microwaving soup. And no one should ever let me handle knives. That’s just common sense.
But it’s okay. Were I ever in a situation where I was responsible for the feeding of other people, I would teach myself to cook. For now, I’ll live on Lean Cuisine and my microwaved salsa chicken. I have plenty of other life skills that don’t involve stoves or ovens or knives, and I’m surviving just fine. But the next time I see y’alls pictures of the three course dinners you lovingly prepare without a trip to the ER, I’m sticking my tongue out at you. Because I’m jealous, for one, and secondly, because you didn’t invite me over. How dare you.