Cooking 101

January 7th, 2013

For years, I’ve successfully concealed my lack of cooking skills through a variety of methods.  Eating out was particularly effective.  Here in Austin we even have a service that brings the food to you from the restaurant of your choice.  It’s been wonderful, and I’ve forged some very special friendships with drivers who delivered our dinners over the years.

When eating out became cost prohibitive or a little boring, I’ve also developed a few meals I’m perfectly capable of putting together.  My chicken and rice dinner is so popular that I once tried to serve it for several nights in a row hoping no one would notice.  I’m also pretty good at heating and serving.  The trick is to time everything just right or own and operate multiple microwaves at once (which could be cost prohibitive and probably something of a health hazard).

I’ve never been one of those crazy people who pretend that the Chef Boyardee Beefaroni is actually my grandmother’s secret recipe.  Then again, I don’t make a big deal about not actually cooking something from scratch.  That came back to bite me a bit many years ago when my older son was four-years-old, and he complained to my sister that her Sloppy Joes weren’t nearly as good as his mothers.  When she pressed me for the recipe, I was forced to confess that I bought them from Schwans.

Two events now force me to confront my lifelong cooking conundrum.  The first is the election.  Cutting back means I must mostly bid my drive up delivery service adieu.  The other event is a little more personal.

Last night, I served my usual Sunday fare—frozen lasagna, frozen vegetables (in a tasty cheese sauce), and heat and serve garlic rolls.  Who couldn’t love that meal?

My children—that’s who.

They finally banded together and held an intervention.  They informed me that I must learn to cook.

I wasn’t asked.  I was told.

Evidently, they’re tired of eating restaurant food.  This leaves me with few options unless we move and find a new set of restaurants to patronize or many new restaurants open in our area.  Neither option looks very likely.

So last night, in the spirit of the new me, I signed up for my first cooking class—Chicken & Eggs.

It’s a Beginners class for students 13 and up. I’m kind of worried about it.  First, I fear I’ll be the oldest student.  In college, you can kind of get away with being way past your prime but trying to better yourself. I’m not so sure the same holds true for cooking class.

Fortunately, I feel fairly comfortable with the subject matter.  I know all the parts of a chicken, so that’s a good start.  Generally, I can successfully crack an egg.  That shouldn’t be a problem.  I survived law school.  Surely, I can do this.

Also, in selecting a course of study, I was wise enough at least to start with a class where I could expect some success.  One of my other choices, Fundamental Knife Skills, seemed too potentially dangerous.  I didn’t want my children to live with the guilt if my knife handling skills proved to be my demise.

Class begins in February (when they say these classes fill up fast they’re not kidding), so I have time to prepare.  In the meantime, I’ll try to slowly prepare the Take Out delivery service for their cut in business.  With me gone, I’m sure they’re going to have a very tough year.