I have never been considered a gourmet chef. Those who know me are well aware that I can barely boil water. So, cooking is definitely not my long suit.
But sometimes down through the years I have had to feed the family. When my wife was visiting somewhere or in the hospital having babies, I was the one who had to prepare meals for kids. And I don’t think they were greatly enthused about my concoctions.
When I would get out some pots and pans, the kids would head outside. Even the dog went. I had trained him not to beg at the table by letting him try my cooking.
I guess that what I created wasn’t fondly anticipated by anybody. I did my best, but it must not have been very good. The kids used to say that they knew what "peas porridge in a pot nine days old" tasted like.
They also accused me of using the smoke alarm as an oven timer.
I recall that I once told them that I could make two things well: meat loaf and black bean soup. Then they asked, “Which is this?”
I had a cookbook, but I couldn’t use it. Every recipe began the same way: “Take a clean dish and ...”
Actually, I read recipes the way I read science fiction — I get to the end and think, “There’s no way that’s going to happen!”
However, I do know the four food groups: Boxed, Frozen, Instant and Canned.
I once asked the kids what they would prefer for dinner. They answered, “Reservations!”
At times they would invite the neighborhood bully over for dinner when I cooked.
“I thought you didn’t like that guy,” I said.
“It’s our way of getting even with him!” they answered.
The worst thing about accidents in the kitchen is that you usually have to eat them. I recall once when I was cooking supper for the kids, it was going to be a surprise, but the fire trucks ruined it.
Another time my daughter was complaining about my meat loaf being on the table from the night before.
“Oh, no! Not again!” she said.
“Young lady,” I said, “You should be ashamed! There are people around the world who would love to have this! Now before we eat, I want you to say grace thanking God for this delicious meal!”
“Thank you, Lord, for this w-w-wonderful supper,” she mumbled, “… again!”
On my wife’s past birthday, I decided to bake a cake for her. I searched the internet for a recipe and found one for chocolate cake that sounded delicious:
2 cups sugar
2¼ cups flour
½ cup sour cream
½ cup chocolate chips
6¾ cups confectioner’s sugar
½ to ¾ cup milk
"Holy Mackerel!" I thought. "We don’t have that many cups. I guess making a cake is out."
There was only one thing to do: Go to Albertsons or Food 4 Less and buy a cake.
Happy Birthday, dear!
Darrell Monk lives in Medford.