When I was nearing my 16th birthday I started applying for jobs at every mall store I could think of. I’d been babysitting for years but I was ready for a “real” job. After weeks, and what felt like millions of applications, I was finally hired by Karmelkorn in Ridgedale Mall. I worked there for exactly two weeks before another of the many applications I submitted got me a job at the Mall of America in a clothing store (much more my style). In those 14 days I burned the caramel corn at least six times, requiring mall fire and police departments to rush to our store-front to be sure I wasn’t setting the mall on fire. Each time a fine was pulled from my paycheck. I think it’s safe to say there were no hard feelings when I gave my notice.
So here’s the thing. I don’t cook. That statement doesn’t even work actually. I’m the kind of girl who has to read directions for Macaroni and Cheese. Every time. And I have to look up how to hard boil eggs in my Betty Crocker cookbook. Every time.
It’s not that I refuse to cook or am proud of my never having learned. It just kind of happened. When I was growing up, my mom cooked. She’s an AMAZING cook. As is my step-dad. When it was just my mom and I we were constantly on the run so she cooked but there wasn’t a whole lot of time for teaching. She was usually making dinner while I was working on homework, or my chores, or playing outside with friends. When things in our household slowed a bit, I was suddenly involved in a million school activities, so I was on the run. I left for college and I just never took the time to learn.
When I was single I was able to sustain myself on Diet Coke, popcorn, soup, fruit, and yogurt (ahh…the good old days). Plus I love to go out to dinner so I did. A lot. Fast forward to now and I have a lovely husband who cooks. Between his know-how, and my limited repertoire of meals, we make it by. Yes…well…that was before the recent joining of the weight loss adventure. I no longer have the ability to throw something together because these people are forcing me to eat real food.
The good news…I’m pretty sure I’ve eaten better in the last week than I have since I left my parents’ house at 18. Yay! The bad news…this sh-t takes a) work, b) planning, and if my husband doesn’t want to eat the same things as I do it means that c) sister has to learn how to cook. I have made it 36 years without knowing how to do anything more difficult than scrambling eggs and baking (which I rule at…but cookies and World War II Chocolate Cake do NOT help the diet). It’s time to grow-up and learn to make food.
This weekend was a good start. Saturday we grilled and I proclaimed that I planned to become a GRILL MASTER this summer. Shortly after that the bottom of our grill fell out. Umm…this is not the summer to buy a new grill d-mn it! Sunday I cooked a turkey breast and squash that my family loved. Even my skeptical husband was pleasantly surprised. I piled loads of fresh fruit onto their plates and told the little girls this would be the summer for “expanding our food horizons.” To which they responded “what does that mean?” Once I explained they were on-board, and they are eager to help me cook, but friends…I don’t even know where to start!
HELP! Any suggestions? Any ideas? Anyone know a personal chef who works for free and doesn’t mind living in a tent or trailer in my back yard (that they’d have to provide themselves)?
TODAY: What if I learn to cook so I can eat better, eat less expensively, and teach the little girls how to do it too? What if it will be an adventure that we as a family can enjoy together? What if a brand new beautiful grill falls out of the air and into our yard unexpectedly? Okay…that last one is ridiculous…but a girl (and her meat loving husband) can dream!