Iwanski and I have been eating a lot of fast food lately. We’ve just both been working late pretty often. Plus, there are about 20 fast food restaurants within 2 blocks of our apartment. Some of which we don’t even have to go outdoors to get to. It’s just way too tempting.
And then there’s the simple fact that I am not a good cook.
Yes, that’s right. Miss Healthypants doesn’t know the first thing about cooking healthy—or for that matter, unhealthy—food. That’s why I eat so many salads. Hey, at least it’s healthy. (At least that’s what I tell myself while I drown my salad in Ranch dressing.)
I think part of the problem is that I just don’t like cooking. Don’t get me wrong--I like the idea of cooking. I can picture myself humming peacefully as I alternately stir several yummy-smelling dishes on the stove. However, the reality is that a) I’m not patient enough to enjoy cooking, and b) I’m too social to enjoy cooking. On the rare occasion that Iwanski and I decide to cook a meal together, I actually do enjoy it. But I don’t like being by myself in the kitchen. Perhaps it’s just the social Gemini in me.
So when I have to cook something (hey, the fast food restaurants aren’t always open!), I try to keep it really simple. Grilled cheese sandwiches, frozen pizza, spaghetti, and the like. And yet I still manage to screw it up somehow.
I think my first cooking screw-up was when I was about 8 years old. My sister and I decided to make Snickerdoodle cookies. (Mmmm…snickerdoodles…) We mixed the batter, dropped the little teaspoons of batter on the cookie sheet, and put it in the oven. Ten minutes later, we checked on it, and the batter had run all over the pan, like one gigantic runny cookie. We couldn’t figure out what we did wrong. Hello, it’s because you forgot to put flour in the mix, you dumbasses! Well, to be fair, we were only 8 and 10 years old. You’re allowed to make those kind of mistakes when you’re that young.
But now I’m an adult and can’t use that excuse. The following are actual mistakes that I’ve made in cooking, in the past few years:
1. A few years ago, I put one of those little California Pizza Kitchen frozen pizzas in the oven. A few minutes later, I smelled something burning. Apparently I had left the cardboard on the bottom of the pizza when I put it in the oven. (Hey, it was really thin cardboard! It was so thin that it blended right into the pizza crust. So it wasn’t really my fault—I blame California Pizza Kitchen.)
2. A couple of years ago, we were over at my sister-in-law’s house. I asked her if I could help her cook anything (See? I don’t mind cooking when others are cooking with me), and she asked me to boil some spaghetti noodles. Not a problem!—I could do that. I put the cold water in the pot and the noodles in the water, and put it on the stove to boil… My brother-in-law saw what I was doing, and he looked at me, dumbfounded. “Don’t you know you’re supposed to boil the water first, and then add the noodles?” “Really?” I said. “Why?” “Because you don’t want your noodles to get all stuck together and mushy. If you boil the water first, you’ll be able to cook the noodles al dente.” I nodded, and made a mental note to later look up the term “al dente.”
3. Just over a month ago, I decided to make grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup. (One of my favorite “comfort food” meals.) We had bought a package of pre-sliced Munsteur cheese from the grocery store (the kind of package where each piece of cheese is separated by a thin piece of waxed paper), so I decided to use that to make the grilled cheese sandwiches. We sat down to eat, and Iwanski bit into his sandwich. “Eww!” he yelled immediately. “What is this…paper?” Sure enough, he pulled a little piece of waxed paper out of his mouth. “You left the paper on the cheese?” He asked incredulously. Then he peeled open the sandwich. And there, stuck to the melted cheese, was a big piece of waxed paper. I looked at my sandwich—and sure, enough, mine had wax paper stuck in it, too. I felt so bad that I had ruined the sandwiches, but all Iwanski could do was laugh and laugh.
So there you go. The cooking genius that is Miss Healthypants.
Come to think of it, it’s probably a good thing that I don’t like cooking.