I’m not a natural-born cook. I’m not exaggerating or saying this for modesty’s sake. Learning to cook was (and still is!) difficult. The first time I ever tried to cook a dinner is a night my husband and I will both never forget. I had picked out some ridiculous meatloaf roll thing I saw Rachael Ray effortlessly make on her show, and went to the store and spent like $60 on the ingredients (apparently I did not maintain a well-stocked pantry).
I got myself set up in the kitchen and got to work so that dinner would be ready when Brent got home from work. Things appeared to being going according to plan, until I came to the step that said “Lightly coat roll with oil.” I splashed a bunch of olive oil on it and sent it into the oven. 20 minutes later when Brent arrived home from work, he sniffed the air and said “Smells like it’s ready.” Feeling sure of myself, I replied, “No, it has 20 more minutes.”
Five minutes later when smoke started coming from the oven, Brent recommended I check on it. As I opened the oven, black smoke billowed out and the smoke alarm started going off. I freaked out and dropped the pan, spilling the meatloaf on the kitchen floor. As Lucy started greedily trying to eat the mess, I noticed that the inside of the meatloaf was raw while the outside seemed completely black. Somehow, in the midst of all this I had also burned my hand and, after I rinsed it with cold water and stopped crying, Brent and I walked down the street to get some fast food. As Brent said at the time, “It’s a good thing I didn’t marry her for her cooking.”
Since then, I’ve been slowly improving and now 99% of what I make is edible. It’s quite a feat considering the lack of culinary genes in my family. After gaining enough confidence, I started experimenting a bit more and tweaking recipes, trying to make them healthier or just switching ingredients around to suit our tastes. A few years later, I started making my own bread and never looked back!