This is a phrase I take literally and figuratively. I greatly dislike cramped kitchens be it from people or just close quarters, which is why I usually cook alone. Sometimes I like cooking with other people, or when Christine is teaching me a new recipe, but for the most part I am in the zone when I cook and I don’t like sharing that space. Plus I can be a little territorial in the kitchen. I once made Thanksgiving dinner for 21 people all by myself because I just needed shear focus and tripping over other people would have just frustrated me. (Possibly also a pride thing. I’m working on that.)
Sometime else that is hard for me to handle…teaching someone to cook. I can teach a lot of things. Cooking is not one. MLA format? Opening paragraph? Come talk to me. Frying an egg? Forget about it. There is a reason I am currently taking lessons.
What I managed to get by on for the past 15 years (I started cooking around 10) I taught myself – for the most part. The internet, cookbooks, and trial and error also played a role. Also, we eat a lot of super basic meals. Spaghetti, hamburger, baked chicken (usually too dry). But bless my husband’s heart he still eats it. I do allow him one critique per meal though. Usually whatever he comes up with I’ve already deduced myself.
Tonight I made a chicken dish I found on Pinterest (I was mostly excited I already had all the ingredients!). It was for a brown sugar garlic chicken, and it was awesome! Want to know something even more awesome? The husband didn’t have a single critique, and my son went back for seconds! *insert super excited jump here* If he had one he didn’t share it, but I’m okay with that. The only thing I want to do differently next time is to sear the chicken a little longer. The brown sugar caramelized really nicely, but the skin could have used a little more crisp.
NOTE TO PARENTS: You don’t have to be obsessed with Pinterest, but it does provide some great ideas J
Anyway, back to having too many cooks in the kitchen. My daughter loves to help me in the kitchen. Being as neurotic as I am it can be a little overwhelming for me. I’m also ashamed to say I lack patience in the department. Combine that with my fear of her getting cut/burned/etc. I’m a mess when she helps. I’m trying to work on this too. Tonight after I dinner I decided to make muffins from scratch. This is the third time I’ve tried this recipe and I’m still not getting it just right.
The first time I mixed up my flour; I used all purpose instead of self-rising. The second time while they were okay, they were too bland. Now the first batch is out and I can see the banana wasn’t fully incorporated and a couple places didn’t bake all the way through…or maybe it’s the strawberry juice. I’m not sure, but they do taste good.
Emmah was a great helper. I decided to teach her how to cut the strawberries I needed. Talk about stress. My six year old with a knife. Verbal direction wasn’t working, so I switched to visual, but she wasn’t picking that up either. She was trying to dice them how she saw chefs use a knife on the cooking shows we watch, and she kept curling her fingers by the knife point. Finally I put my own knife down and took her hands in mine, going through all the motions. She did a lot better. She was actually thrilled. I on the other hand was tense, not because I had another cook in the kitchen, but because my six year old was dicing strawberries.
Emmah did great, and I relaxed once we were finally done using sharp objects of potential death. She’s often more competent than I give her credit for. She’s really bright when she applies herself, and sometimes she lacks common sense (like when she pointed the knife at me), but honestly she is six. I gotta give her a break, right?