Cooking up disaster

Growing up I had a serious eating complex. Food was my enemy. I ate merely to survive, not enjoy. So needless to say, I didn’t invest a lot of time in developing killer cooking skills. When I got married, I was literally starting from scratch and I still consider myself an amateur chef.

And I have a lot of amateur-chef stories to back me up.

Like the fall I experienced a number of canning disasters. Not only did I manage to blow up a bottle of spaghetti sauce splattering tomatoes all over my parents’ back patio (apparently my dad’s camp chef cooks about 100 times hotter than an indoor stove) but I melted my mom’s juicing hose trying to bottle grape juice and burned one of my favorite kitchen towels. It was hand-painted with a cute little girl on it and the words “Tuesdays I just cry” below her.

Ironically that happened on a Tuesday and I felt like crying.

I think of that towel every time I have a cooking disaster, which happens more than I like to admit. Like last Sunday when I tried to make dinner rolls and brownies.

I’ve had a 25-pound bag of flour in my pantry for about three months that I need to get rid of and I’ve been anxious to try my friend’s new “easy” roll recipe. However, we used all of our eggs at lunch and because it was the Sabbath I decided not to go buy a dozen but use an egg-substitute recipe.

I started with the brownies. I checked the egg recipe – but unfortunately I didn’t read it all the way through. Needless to say, 25 minutes later I had successfully made brownie oil surprise aka brown bubbling goo.

Luckily, I flipped my recipe card over before starting on the rolls. I followed the egg-substitute recipe to a T, but the rolls weren’t rising.

Now I have to admit I can make a mean chicken pasta salad and delicious sugar cookies, but those are only two things on a very short list of foods I have managed to successfully make more than once.

I have never handmade a delicious batch of dinner rolls. And I’ve wanted to. So I started to panic. It was 6 p.m. and I was seriously craving my rolls. Especially after I knew the brownies were inedible.

I think I checked under the towel a dozen times to see if they had grown. I decided to relax a little and help get the boys in bed. To my surprise the egg substitute kicked in and they actually turned out okay, despite the fact that I underestimated the rising time and didn’t get to enjoy a warm roll until about 9:45 p.m.

Now I know what you are thinking, “no wonder her kids don’t eat well.”  I know I’m no Rachael Ray or Paula Dean but maybe if I keep trying I’ll be able to add to my list of repeated successes.

I actually enjoy cooking now, even if it occasionally ends in disaster. When that happens I simply laugh it off and head to Wendy’s. Unless it’s Sunday, then I end up serving cereal.

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