It started out fun, but then things got fuzzy. I wanted to make a dish that I often order at one of my favorite restaurants (yes Mexican) called tortilla soup. Well, to cut right to the cheese, I mean chase—you know it’s been a long time since you’ve cooked when you can’t even find the cheese grater. Worse yet, when you can’t remember what the cheese grater looks like.This has nothing to do with memory loss and everything to do with cooking blues, because I know what a grater looks like, I just couldn’t remember what mine looked like.
In my case it takes up way too much of my time, cooking that is. For me it’s off to work by 8:30 a.m., whistle blows at 5 p.m. (sometimes midnight), then home to feed the horse (an overgrown dog really, with a huge appetite who honestly only loves me for my amazing ability to feed him), then phone interviews, edit my students articles, and more writing until 10 p.m.—well let’s just say, “hello fast food ala ATM card.” Sleep fits in there somewhere between today and tomorrow, I’m just not sure where, exactly. Now who hid the ladle?
I always tell everyone that when I do cook, my stove thinks a new tenant moved in. And since my 17-year-old son Andrew is not too keen on casseroles or anything with green in it, I keep it simple for him (mac and cheese from a box tops the charts). At this point, I can’t make out if it’s the onions that are making me cry or just the cooking?
I pour myself a glass of Cabernet – this always helps. See, I cook just fine, and I receive my fair share of compliments when I host a dinner (key word: when). I love to watch the Food Network cooking shows on Saturdays (how does Giada stay so thin anyway?), and Andrew has to pull me away, literally from the Tupperware stand in the middle of the malls. The wine is taking effect and I begin to search high and low (mostly low) for that new mini white Tupperware strainer with a practically noir look on my face.
The tortilla soup is almost done. So is the bottle of wine. But how could soup possibly take five hours to make? With no time left to read Bill Clinton’s new book “Giving,” I plop on the couch and contemplate how it feels to be “receiving” no soup (because I’m full of wine now) and wonder if I fed the horse yet.
Kitchen is a mess and take-out would’ve only cost me no more than two or three Abe Lincolns (love Taco Bell), so why all the fuss and muss? I’m thinking cooking is just not my thing. I’m much better at putting words together than food, where the only things left on the floor and counters to clean-up are trite clichés and passive sentences my editor didn’t need.
By the way, I finally found the cheese grater. It was tucked neatly away in my sock drawer.
Charleen Earley is a freelance writer, humor columnist, high school journalism teacher and stand-up comedienne. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.