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23 May 2011


My cooking revival (part 1)

by AVR

My cooking revival (part 1)This is something new that I am working on - 'Distorted in Translation' (sketches from a warped marriage).

I never liked cooking.

I was not interested in cooking as a child – couldn't stand the sight of bloody meat. I did learn how to make rice, potatoes, eggs, bacon and probably a few other things to help my mom out (I'm the oldest of 8) and I did like to bake. But I had to learn to cook when I got married.

I never really learned any proper prepping and cooking techniques. I didn't know how to handle a knife properly so cutting, chopping, dicing were a nightmare for me not to mention trying to cut raw meat.

I was married for about 5 years before I found out that my then husband (now my late ex) not only knew how to cook but was a much better cook than I was and he liked to cook. He could have given me pointers on technique when I was struggling to prep or when I had the burner on too high or too low. But he had no patience with me and he just liked to watch me struggle. I think he thought I would eventually figure it out on my own – fat chance of that happening as I needed someone to SHOW me. He did, to his credit, eat everything I cooked even when, in those first months, the taste was so off or burnt that I, myself, couldn't eat it.

While my children were growing up, I cooked everything from scratch. After our 2nd son was born, on the days I worked into the evening, he would cook. That's how I found out he could cook. He cooked the traditional Czech dishes that I hadn't learned or were too labor intensive (i.e. a lot of knife work) and I cooked what I already had down pat (mostly roasts) occasionally trying recipes that I was either given or ran across that I felt they would like and I thought I could handle. I did make a mean spaghetti sauce which my sons said was better than their dad's and my Hungarian goulash got the official seal of approval from our very picky Hungarian friends. I always got compliments on my cooking. But the actual preparation and cooking was a nightmare for me.

It was extremely frustrating to watch my late ex cook. No recipe, threw anything he felt like into the pot/pan, walked away for however long he chose (he even took naps) and he never burned anything (except once on the stove and once he had a fire in the upper oven but those are separate stories) and the meals were always delicious. He even had beautiful plate presentation. While I, on the other hand, followed the recipes to the letter, watched the stove like a hawk and had mishap after mishap.

(to be continued)


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