Jul 31, 2008

What's that smell? . . .

I love to cook.

My dad loved to cook.

My grandma loved to cook.

It's in my blood.

There was a time however, when I probably could have used a transfusion.

I wasn't always a very good cook.

There was the time I made mint cookies.

Extracts hadn't been invented yet, so I went in the yard, found the mint plant, pulled it out of the ground, shook off the dirt, tore the leaves off, and carefully placed a few in the center of each little lopsided ball of dough on the cookie sheet.

They smelled so good before they were put in the oven.

They smelled like a grass fire while cooking.

They smelled up the trash can until collection day.

Years later I decided to give cooking another try.

Actually I had to wait for my parents to forget about the mint incident.

It took a long time. Anytime I even went near the kitchen they would jump up and start shouting and waving their arms all over the place, herding me out the door and back to my room.

I spent half my childhood in my room.

I had a burning desire to cook.

My dad used to say I had the desire to burn what I cooked.

He was the comedian in the family.

I asked for an Easy Bake Oven and a Kenner Big Burger Grill for my birthday every year. I got the Kenner Big Burger Grill, but they wouldn't let me have a light bulb to cook my food. I was a smarty pants though, and I used a flashlight, but soon found out that the Kenner Big Burger Grill was not intended to be used as a slow-cooker.

My next cooking experiment was a watermelon cake.

It was for my mom's birthday.

I made it in a mixing bowl so it would look just like half a watermelon.

It looked like a watermelon alright.

But I never had to use a hacksaw to cut any watermelon I ever ate before or after that cake.

Somewhere between the mixing and the baking I unknowingly discovered the chemical properties of petrifying food. It was a one time thing. I haven't been able to do it again. Many years passed before I got even a glimpse of a kitchen again. In fact, it was right after I got married.

My husband had no idea.

I made him this.

For a while he kept the emergency number for the Poison Control Center on speed dial, and the phone next to his plate at every meal.

Just in case.

After a few near misses, and the bad chicken scare of 19-something-something, I got the hang of things and became the resident, Martha Stewart - Julia Child in my neighborhood.

Nobody who knows me today would ever guess that I am the reason for all those ridiculous warnings on food labels. Thank me all you want.

Picture courtesy of cyco4toys on eBay.


Judy Haley (coffeejitters) said...

I never got an easy bake oven either

I never learned to cook either but that didn't stop me from telling my date (and future husband) that I could. I pulled out a recipe for salmon chowder and very meticulously followed every step in the instructions and it miraculously turned out perfect - in fact its why he stuck around for another date

Romi said...


Another deprived child:-)

I guess it would have helped if I had followed recipes. I was a wing-it type of girl and too impatient to follow instructions. I have since learned to do just that.

Swirl Girl said...

When my brother and deep fried french fries (while mixing some wicked potions from out of town mom and dad's bar) and blew up the kitchen....let's just say I wasn't allowed to cook at home either.

'nuff said.

remember, I grew up thinking ketchup and butter was spaghetti sauce....what the hell did I know about grease fires?

lyngweeny said...

I remember the acid green chocolate chip cookies you made for St. Patrick's day that sat in the cookie jar until summer vacation.I don't know what was more off putting, the look or the taste. What was that secret ingredient?

only a movie said...

That's quite the culinary evolution. good for you for overcoming your kitchen, er, issues. I am not really into food. I have a few reliable dishes and I'm a decent baker. The other half doesn't mind cooking at all. And keeps me around if I make him cookies.

Weith Kick said...

Watermelon Cake? I'm intrigued. It reminds me of the mashed potato candy I tried to make in the 6th grade. It was awful. But I'm not convinced it can't be made.

Romi said...

Swirl Girl,

My husband had that recipe in college, except he left out the butter.


Weith Kick,
. . . if it's a potato it doesn't belong in the candy group . . . I think a Home Ec teacher invented that dish just to mess with kids heads.

Mamahut said...

I had an easy bake oven. The only problem was to find the little packets of cake mix when you ran out. I cooked some pretty strange things under my lightbulb. Thank god for family pets to experiment on. NO, I didn't cook them, they ate my experiments: )