Monday, May 16, 2011

I don't know how to make mashed potatoes

The other night our family celebrated my parent's wedding anniversary. My sister and I decided to cook dinner as a gift, we decided to make steak because we all eat too many grilled chicken breasts. Too many. I got into the kitchen and realized that I had not a single clue how to cook! Sure, I know how to bake and can whip up a mean oatmeal dish, but an actual well balanced meal seemed very elusive to me. Suddenly the kitchen seemed foreign, clumsily I searched for olive oil, herbs, spice rubs and anything else that I could possibly use. I even had to read the labels whereas my baking prowess ensures that the simple shape of a bottle was enough to discern between vanilla extract and almond extract. My sister offered to make mashed potatoes, to which I incredulously replied "You know how to make mashed potatoes?". I had not a clue. I was captain helpless asea on an already anchored ship, yet competing in a sailing race. I was left with cooking the steak. The gross looking slabs of red meat, which I picked up precociously with a delicate pinch of my index finger and thumb. I hesitated with every movement: Where do I cut the steak? What exactly is a marinade? Oil goes into a marinade right? Somehow, with guidance from the little sister, the steaks began their oil and herb laden bath.

Step two in my panicked dinner was actually cooking the steak. On a grill. All I could envision was the sprightly flames licking my shirt setting my frame afire. Don't laugh, that could have happened. It didn't though. With tongs that resembled robotic evil crustaceans, I began poking the meat in hopes that it would somehow communicate flip me over blonde girl with the confused face. That did not happen. By some miracle I managed to flip over each steak revealing a cooked bottom. This is pretty cool I thought to myself, look at me I am a master, a grillmaster. But oh geez, how in the world do you know when they are done? I decided to poke them yet again and came to the conclusion that yes, they were in fact inanimate beef hunks. Whispering a prayer that the steaks would be alright, I pried them off of the grill slats and onto a plate. Dauntingly I made my way into the house to face judgment. With my sister's amazing mashed potatoes (how does she know these things that I should know as a twenty year old?) and my miracle steaks the dinner was a hit.

In my realization of my lack of cooking skills I have turned to the expert source of cooking, Julia Child. Being a master library patron, I found her infamous "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" in my local library, a book that I delightfully checked out. I could practically feel the palpitation of culinary knowledge through the massively bound book. Anxiously, I drove home with the prized book resisting every temptation to flip through the magic laden pages at red lights. Once home I whipped out the book onto the kitchen table. The book landed with a hollow thud on the table, the spine cracked as I slowly opened the cover revealing a table of content that was about as long as my arm. The first two chapters were on soups and flavored butters! Seems like I have much catching up to do. Now I may not know how to de-bone a duck or correctly prepare foie gras, at least I can learn a classic recipe that my family will enjoy. The adventure starts now.


  1. Don't worry Rach. Cooking is easy. You just gotta be fearless like Julia! You got this!

    Love you!

  2. Yes lovely :) I am! I read your blog while I was gone, but it is hard to comment while on my phone :/