I don’t cook. I’ve never been good at it, never had to be good at it really. All those years my friends were learning to cook I spent with my nose in some book after being shooed out of the kitchen. I wasn’t even allowed to boil water (until the sixth grade), and knives were sacred, untouchable objects. Then later, when my mother and grandmother realized un-domestic I was becoming, they tried to salvage the situation. But it was too late. I was already quite comfortable not cooking, thankyouverymuch, and had no inclination to get oil burns or slice myself by accident or any other horrible thing than can go wrong while one is engaged in this cooking business.
So when I left home in September, I had made up my mind to survive the next two years on macaroni and cheese and sandwhiches. My aunt didn’t bother to hide her amusement at my determination, but I was unfazed! Me, cook? Never! I have since come to realize that this is exactly the kind of statement fate finds supremely amusing.
It started with rice. Innocent enough. I’d cooked rice before, no sweat. Besides, it’s just plain rice. That’s not even real cooking. Then I was boiling dumplings. That required mixing flour and water with some degree of skill. I should have caught the warning signs but I was too excited by the prospect of trying something new to notice that I was slowly getting closer to what might be construed as domesticity.
Before I knew it, there I was cooking country style chicken and rice and peas and serving my so-called determination on a plate (with vegetables on the side). Just this weekend I made curry chicken, and it was good. I never thought it would come to this, that I would willingly spend hours slaving in a hot kitchen over a pot that I hoped would turn out well. This is what living away from home means: you end up doing things.
On the bright side, I didn’t actually cook any of them from scratch.