I want to be that mom that can look in the fridge and spy four lonely ingredients and combine them with a douse of olive oil and create a meal the entire family will devour appreciatively. Instead, I am the mom that ends up microwaving chicken nuggets for one child, mac and cheese for the other and finds herself standing at the sink at nine at night consuming a bowl of cereal, wondering how I missed the culinary gene so completely.
It’s sad, right? Pathetic even.
Cooking, especially in 2012, is something anyone with a couple of bucks and access to the internet should be able to achieve fairly easily. Shall I call it an affliction then, the fact that you will hand me a perfectly serviceable chicken, a bunch of potatoes and carrots and I will return them to you several hours later as a barely recognizable, mostly inedible mush?
When the kids tell me they “don’t want any,” I can’t blame them. I don’t want any either. Thus the bowl of cereal at 9pm.
I do have my moments of grace in the kitchen though, none of them particularly healthy or easy on the midsection: guacamole (my Dad’s recipe), oatmeal chocolate chip cookies (my mom’s + some help from the inside of the oatmeal box) and mashed potatoes (lots and lots of butter.) One can see that a family cannot live on my few culinary capabilities; so I am forced to rise to the occasion regularly, taking on a new recipe from allrecipes.com or some rediscovered, battered cookbook.
Occasionally, there are victories: a meal that turns out tasting and looking good to those under (and over) the age of eight. Lasagna, a baked ziti, tri-tip; I keep these successes in my back pocket like a lucky rabbit’s foot, reminding myself that I am capable, that being perfectly pedestrian in the kitchen does not have to be my forever fate. More is possible.
However, I have to say, regardless of my lack of talent, we do sit down for dinner as a family almost every night and though the cuisine might often lack, the comedic value of the event never does. There’s occasionally a reenactment of something that occurred on the schoolyard that day, or perhaps a scene out of a beloved family film. Often there are knock knock jokes with answers that beguile and confuse. Always there is inappropriate language, talking with the mouth open, laughter and multiple inquiries regarding dessert. There is feeding of the dogs from the table, several bathroom runs (with requests for company) and rarely – but it does happen – someone falls out of their chair.
These are the reasons, as much as I fear and loath cooking, I really adore dinnertime.
Almost as much as I adore bedtime.