Magazines, moms and television try to make cooking look so easy. But there are those of us out there who really don't get along with our kitchens. It's a constant battle between good and evil; it can turn ugly when stoves are left and skin accidentally gets burned.
There aren't enough therapists in the world to ease the tension between a novice cook and a sadistic kitchen. Still, here are a few pointers for surviving the daily encounter.
- Face your fear. Be Batman! Well, kind of. Don’t pick up the secret life of a vigilante suddenly or anything; face your fear of the kitchen, the utensils, the flames, the oven and ingredients. Sometimes baking homemade pizza crust will set off a smoke alarm. Sometimes steamed green beans burn at the bottom of the pot because a TV show was too good to look away from. Sometimes your husband will smile sweetly while feeding dinner to the dog under the table. Having a husband who cooks better than I do is a little intimidating, but his encouragement makes a major difference. A satisfied “yum!” from him is enough to make me try again.
- Invest in fall backs. There are literally only a handful of meals I can actually make without wasting a ton of groceries on a science experiment. I can make pizza margherita, pancakes, any kind of eggs, French toast and steamed green beans. While it isn’t much to brag about, there was once a time I couldn’t cook any of them. They are my fall backs in case my science experiment makes my husband nauseous. Having only a handful of options might not impress Emeril, but it’s enough to save the day if things go awry.
What really helped me tackle my fear of cooking (okay, it isn’t all fear – truthfully, cooking kind of bores me) is reminding myself that I can cook something. Even if it’s only done badly, it’s still cooking! At least that’s what I keep telling myself. I think I'm right. I usually am, anyway.