I am not a natural cook.
This shouldn’t come as such a surprise to me, I suppose. I wasn’t raised in a household that cooked often; while we always had great party food and put together a good spread on special occasions, the memories that stand out the most are those of microwaved bags of frozen veggies; a fridge containing nothing but milk, applesauce, a few gallons of distilled water, and a “Bag O’ Salad”; my elation when I learned how to make my own mac ‘n’ cheese; and my belief that chicken only existed as a white, dry chicken breast that hopefully wouldn’t take too many chews to go down. (Imagine my delight when I discovered chicken thighs existed in my later college days, and that “dark meat” wasn’t just a Thanksgiving delicacy.)
College students aren’t known for their culinary skills, but I always wanted to obtain them somehow. Especially as I moved away from the college crowd and essentially turned into a pseudo-adult who was still taking college classes (this was accomplished by living in a house with older friends, spending time with older friends, working two jobs, commuting 45 miles to school, and not getting shitfaced on disgustingly cheap liquor at every possible opportunity), I felt that it was time to enhance my attempts at adulthood by learning how to cook for myself and my house-family. I was also too broke to continue keeping Jimmy John’s on speed dial.
Cooking’s pretty simple, right? There’s a recipe, and you follow it. I’m even lucky enough to have most of the basic equipment in the house already, thanks to not living alone. (Hint to my fellow pseudo-adults: “Basic equipment” means more than just having a fridge and a microwave.)
Okay, but what do I want to make, though? I’m a simple person, and Rogue Leader is the same. I like apples and peanut butter. Caesar salads. Cheese and sausage. Sandwiches (or the paleo version, which replaces the bread with a lettuce wrap!). When we went to Crimblade and Okibrownie’s for dinner, his grilled beef and veggie skewers blew us away. We knew food could be that delicious and incredible, but not that it was possible for real people like us to make it that way.
Over the past several months, I have been attempting to become known for more than just my cornbread muffins — which until recently were my sole culinary triumph. (I have now added simple sauteed green beans to that list for a grand total of two things I can cook that other people want to eat. Sadly, neither constitutes a meal.) But while I can handle breakfast (greek yogurt, a fried egg, or maybe a banana) and lunch (sandwiches and fruit for the win), I have no idea what people eat for dinner.
I’ve made several pretty tasty meals in the past few months, actually. But while I highly enjoyed the (usually) successful endeavors, none of them stuck. “Wait, we have to eat dinner again tonight? Didn’t we just do that yesterday?”
Honestly, though, the worst part of this entire process is the actual procuring of food. I loathe grocery shopping. It’s a constant reminder of how much effort it takes me to figure out a whole week’s worth of healthy dinners that I can still somehow afford — and then when I finally find everything I need, pay more than I wanted to at the checkout line, and get it all home — I still have to turn it into meals.
I keep trying, but we’ve been home from vacation for a week and still have nothing but good beer, a greek yogurt, and eggs in our half of the fridge. Maybe it’s time for me to stop trying to be a domestic goddess and just figure out how to feed myself first.