Wednesday, May 12, 2010

What Went Wrong With That Recipe

I come from a family of wonderful cooks. From Gramma I learned good, down home cookin'. Lots of fried things, beans and cornbread, veggies from the garden, wild onions scrambled with eggs, pot roast with carrots and potatoes and the staple of every southern table: gravy. Mom made all these things, too. She is a wiz on the grill and makes fabulous desserts. The desserts are not neccessarily cooked on the grill, but they are full of fat and sugar, as all desserts should be. Good eats are not confined to the womenfolk. My dad is pretty handy in the kitchen. Everytime we visit, I look forward to breakfast. And try as I might, I just can't get cabbage rolls that are the same class.

It took me awhile, but I did eventually learn to cook well enough to hold my own. My first attempts were...uh.....interesting. Gravy is a fairly simple thing to make. All you need in fat, flour, and a liquid - milk for white gravy and broth for brown. It is simple, but not easy. There is a delicate balance to getting the proportions just right. The first time I made gravy it was thick. Very, very thick. So thick, in fact, that it could be sliced. I've had other culinary failures that I just don't remember as well. Probably because they just as funny as slice-able gravy.

Sometimes I hear people tell me that they are a terrible cook. I never used to believe them. Probably because my mother and grandmother were severe about their own cooking. No matter how completely delicious a meal was, something could always be better. I had a roommate who told me when we first met that she was a terrible cook. I didn't believe her. One Sunday after we came home from church, she started cooking for a potluck dinner we were attending that evening. I laid down for an afternoon nap to the delicious odours of ground beef and onion cooking. I woke-up to something completely different. She had made this casserole thing. Cheese and crackers and who know what else were in there somewhere. It looked solid and somewhat rubbery. This particular roommate wasn't going to the potluck. My other roommates and I were commisioned to take the thing with us. We did. No one and I mean absolutely no one ate it. We ended up depositing it in a dumpster on our way home. Since then, I believe people when they tell me the can't cook.

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