My husband was watching an afternoon TV show last week on which a chef of some renown was cooking. He had toasted an English muffin and sliced it. On the bottom half he put a slice of ham he had cooked in a frying pan, and he topped that with some cheese. He had baked eggs in ramekins, and he placed one of the eggs on top of the cheese and ham and then put some sauce on the other half of the English muffin and put it on the egg. The other hosts then got to enjoy the results.
My husband called me in to watch the process. When it was all finished, he asked me if I had any ramekins. He wanted to try to reproduce the process. I told him no. He asked if we have anything resembling a ramekin. I replied that we have some cupcake tins. (I didn’t tell him they were probably rusty.)
My thought about this process was this: Why would you go to all that trouble when you could get the same thing from a fast-food place?
The following day I had lunch with four friends. I had a good time, and some of the conversation had me somewhat bemused.
One friend said that she had enjoyed a salad that another lady had brought to a function. That lady responded with the recipe for the salad dressing and salad, which happened to include pears. The first lady said that she particularly liked the salad because the pears were slightly unripe and crisp. The other agreed that the crispness of the pears made the salad.
Then a third lady asked the second lady if she had any ground lamb in her freezer. She said that she had been in a bookstore and had bought a new cooking magazine. She enjoyed the magazine so much that she had made dinners for the past few nights based on recipes in the magazine.
The dish she had prepared the night before included ground lamb, and she had made a sauce that incorporated citrus rather than the traditional tzatziki sauce. Both ladies discussed various recipes for making tzatziki. The original speaker said she particularly like this magazine because it stressed recipes for foods that were in season.
Someone asked what was in season in January. Kale was the answer. Several more recipes for kale were then mentioned, along with the fact that Pizza Hut is the country’s largest consumer of kale, which is used as a garnish on its salad bar.
I went home and related the conversation to my husband. I then apologized and told him that he had married the wrong woman.
I must not have a cooking gene.
When my children were little and living at home and my husband went out of town or would not be home for dinner, my children and I cheered and ordered pizza. We did not think, "What fancy thing can we cook now?"
When my husband is not going to be home for dinner now, I do not go to the grocery store and buy something fancy to cook for myself. I either get a takeout salad or cook bacon and eggs. I never have bacon and eggs for breakfast, so it is a treat to have this breakfast for dinner.
My sister, within the past six years, remodeled her kitchen. Her children are up and raised and she lives alone. She put all new appliances and tile and flooring in the kitchen. She even had a special shelf built for her microwave under the counter. She is barely 5 feet tall and finds a microwave above the stove too hard to use.
Her new stove has a glass top. One of her friends remarked that glass-top stoves really do not cook as well as gas stoves. (My cooking friends tell me the same thing. I also have a glass-top stove.) My sister replied that that may be true, but her stove suits her perfectly.
"Since I don’t cook," she said, "the stove is very easy to clean. I just have to dust it once in a while."
Neither of us inherited a cooking gene.
Paula Travis is a retired teacher from the Newton County School System. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.