September 30, 2014

A terrible cook and a first dinner on my own

By Kevin Bunch
Staff Writer | news@arenacindependent.com
Posted 11/29/11

After nearly a month of waiting, I have finally been able to move into my shiny new apartment. It’s the first time I’ve been able to live on my own, and the move has brought with it certain trials and tribulations. Chief among these would be cooking.

I will just come right out and say it: I am not a particularly good cook. I can make fairly simple things and have them come out properly most of the time, but every so often the meals just go wrong in some mind-boggling way.

My family has never let me forget the time I tried to make a pizza and it burst into flames right before my eyes, nor the time I forgot to drain the water from a box of macaroni and cheese, forcing me to improvise, very unsuccessfully, with Cheez-Whiz. Once, a batch of rice I put in the microwave exploded seconds in; and my grilled cheese sandwiches either come out perfect or bafflingly soggy.

My questionable cooking skills stand in sharp contrast to those of my family at large. Both of my parents are quite good at cooking (my father even wanted to become a chef in his younger days), and both my now-passed aunt and grandma loved putting together huge, Italian-style home-cooked meals on a weekly basis for the extended family to enjoy.

Needless to say, I did not have high hopes for putting dinner together for myself on my first evening at home, but I told myself I certainly can’t live off pizza and fast food, so there is no time to learn how to cook properly like the present. With that in mind, I set about the task of making something only marginally more involved than a box of macaroni and cheese: a box of Tuna Helper. Baby steps, I told myself.

After spending several minutes trying to figure out where everything I needed was located, I went about the task of throwing all the ingredients in a skillet and hoping for the best. I consider myself a very scientific cook, following the directions to my meal to the letter before I start to tweak them. It usually serves me well, unless I forget to add a key ingredient somewhere. I also tossed on the teakettle for a warm drink to go with my food; some “brown rice green tea” that a friend donated to me when she was moving seemed like a good choice.

The end result was a reasonably good dinner on my first full day in my own home. My food was not quite as good as my parents’ efforts to make the same thing, but victory sweetened the taste. It may not have been what I would consider a truly amazing meal, but it was a good start. Perhaps next time I shall grab some produce and chicken, and use one of the boxes of curry I picked up a while back at a Chinese supermarket downstate in Ypsilanti, and work my way up in complexity.

Assuming, of course, that my next endeavor does not randomly burst into flame.

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