So when I was knee high to a grasshopper my Granddaddy told me that I would never ever get a husband if I never knew how to cook. My grandfather was an old school Christian Texan who loved his meat and potatoes…so he knew a little something about food. And because I was raised right and had respect for my elders I didn’t suck my teeth or pop my neck at his words I just said “yes granddaddy” and kept it moving into the living room while he cooked dinner for the family.
I gotta tell ya’ll, its hard for an only child to get into cooking when everyone in said child’s family loves to cook. My grandfather, both grandmothers, my mother and even my own father enjoy crafting culinary delights. And so if you don’t have to learn something then you don’t learn anything. My first culinary disaster occurred when I made corn dogs for dinner. I would say that I was about 10 years old, a latchkey kid who wanted to help out the household by preparing a meal for my parental units. So without a recipe but armed with creativity and good intentions I made corn dogs how anyone without a clue would. I boiled several hotdogs and then placed them on top of a can of corn that I had poured into a pan…the microwave did the rest. I don’t even think I added salt or pepper…maybe just ketchup. Yiiikes! I know! Oh how my parents humored me and then we had pizza. Tee hee. And even through separation and divorce, I think my parents mutually decided that my next culinary experiences would be outside of their households…
So let’s fast forward 9 years to my college days! Picture this, the year was 2001 in the new dormitory the university had built. Claiming that I could do more than cook the rice, ramen and make the Kool-Aid (after awhile my friends had type cast my cooking skills) I told my friends that I could fry the chicken for the evening meal. Can I say that I could have too if someone had just told me that it is possible to get a pan too hot, and you often need more than a dollop of oil too do chicken right. Yes, yes, yes! The Lord does watch over babies and fools alike. So when I threw the chicken into the very hot pan there was a lot of smoke and me coughing. Amazingly, the smoke detector never sounded, which as I think back with my adult mind was a problem. After I let out a few Oh $&*%! I turned the stove off, put the pan in the sink and briskly walked back down the hall to my suite as if nothing happened. So while in the suite my friend (who at the time I felt had a nose of a bloodhound-though the hallway was very smoky) asked if something was burning. She quickly going into momma bear mode, walked down to the kitchen and came back to ask me what the hell happened? Oooops! My bad. But she should have knew better to leave me in the kitchen alone to prepare the fried chicken. You gotta have skill! And hello, I had only mastered rice and Kool-Aid. To this day it’s one of the stories that comes up when we think back on the good ole days of our college years. Ain’t that right Courvoisier?
And from that culinary battle I have lived off the kindness of my cooking friends and family, the whore that is McDonald’s, bowls of cereal, and just getting by on the basic microwaveable meals. But now that I’m nearing thirty and feeling like a real adult (read I got a mortgage to pay) I am familiarizing myself with the kitchen. I mean after all it was a selling point when I purchased my condo, I might as well use it right? Right. So I did what I didn’t do when I was 10 or 19 and I bought a cookbook. Cook This Not That. My coworker actually put me on to it. And I must say that I have been having some positive cooking experiences here lately, my coworker as well! Now I would be lying if I didn’t also admit that I’ve had a few set backs, but none have devastated me to the point of not returning to the kitchen the next day… I just go on to Popeye’s a get me a two piece with some red beans and rice! And I must say that as a chick who lived off of crap and cereal for years it feels good to be paying for and preparing my own meals.
And I can’t tell ya’ll how enriching it has been to talk to my dad about the wonderfulness that is McCormick’s Montreal Steak Seasoning. Or get my mom’s recipe for spaghetti. Or call up my grandma for advice on how to make my greens taste better… And it gets better when I get to have my mom calling and asking me what I am having for dinner!
That’s what I call a culinary victory.
See You In Seven
SO LONG, FAREWELL...
The View From Here will conclude on Friday, October 1, our third year anniversary. We would like to spend this month thanking all of our readers, followers, haters, visitors, family, friends, and fans for your continued support, encouragement, and comments over these past few years. Thanks y'all!
-The Five Spot