(SNN) - “Did you see that recipe for Great Grandma’s Cinnamon Strawberry Glaze Pound Cake With Chocolate Chips ‘N Sprinkles that Patricia posted on Facebook?” my friend asks. I give her a blank look and she turns to ask another friend who most certainly did see it. If I see anything resembling food on my Facebook feed, I quickly scroll past it.
It’s not that I don’t care that a Facebook buddy has spent 3 hours making the latest iteration of the Best Ever Vegetable Lasagna With Giant-Sized Zucchini Chunks, from scratch, that turned out perfectly. I admire her patience and tenacity. It’s just that cooking is not for me. I even avoid grocery stores unless the one-who-does-the-food-shopping is homebound and throwing up every 2 hours. Then, I’m it.
Raw potatoes, bad stroganoff, and burned chicken
My mom tried. She really did. She made a lot of dishes with potatoes, the kind you have to peel. Potatoes were a staple in our family. I remember my mom laboring over yesterday’s newspaper, paring knife in hand, peeling potato after potato. I think I must have asked if I could help; or she just got sick of constant peeling and finally put the paring knife in my unskilled hands, surely explaining how to safely use it. But when I grew taller and defiant, I stopped wielding the paring knife. My mom maintained it was her fault. I was too slow and she too was impatient.
I did a lot of dishes after that.
Flash forward to 8th grade Home Economics class. Our group of four, assigned to kitchenette # 1, was directed to make beef stroganoff and chiffon pie. We had all the right ingredients, but something went wrong. No doubt it was me who made the stroganoff because it was clearly not fit for human consumption. We weren’t forced to eat it. In fact, our teacher felt sorry for us and allowed us to eat strawberry chiffon pie for lunch. It was good. It was probably made by one of my kitchen mates, not me.
I cleaned the kitchen after that.
You would think I would get better by the time I became a young bride. But that was not to be. I ran out of the kitchen crying after my first cooked meal. Blackened chicken was not on the menu. He ate it anyway...some of it.
I threw the rest away.
In spite of the disasters, though, there are a handful of things I can make well. A delicious dish of Macaroni and Tomatoes (only tasty if I don’t forget to brown the onions first), Fruit Salad (only on holidays), Eggs, sunny-side up (if I don’t break the yokes), Spanish Rice (if I can find the recipe) and a tangy Vegetable Stew with Tomato Juice Base and Worcestershire Sauce (I don’t remember the last time I made it).
That being said, I have to confess that I usually sign up to bring the chips and dip to potlucks.
Making things, messing up, meaning well
I’ve done a fair amount of hand sewing/crafting over the years, when my eyes were good. I did crewel, embroidery, and needlepoint. I even made decorative felt Christmas stockings for my kids before they were born. But I’ve had my disasters with this, too. I tried latch hooking a kid-themed rug for a neighbor’s baby shower gift once. But I ran out of time and the backside of it was only partially done. Still, I figured it was just the backside and no one would see it.
I think I saw her dog laying on it when I went to visit the new baby.
My mom tried to teach me to crochet once. I quickly gave up after I got the threads so tangled that it looked like the Flying Spaghetti Monster. So, I moved on to knitting. Forget that. I couldn’t tell a knit from a purl and lost track counting the rows. Quilting? Two former work colleagues tried to get me into that, until I confessed that I had to take Remedial Geometry before being fully accepted into my junior year of college. I’ll stick with being a quilter’s groupie, thanks.
I think I am glad to have an excuse to avoid hand sewing, crafting and quilting. I wear progressive lenses and they just don’t work!
But back to 8th grade Home Economics. That was the era of the worst sewing FAIL I ever had. We had to make outfits to wear in the spring fashion show...on sewing machines! I knew nothing of sewing machines, only that Singer made them. I chose to make a baby blue, box pleated skirt and a short sleeve, color-coordinated print blouse. Not only did I sew a seam right down the middle of one of the pleats, but I jammed up the machine so badly that my teacher had to miss her lunch period to unjam it. I cried, she went hungry, and the fashion show went on.
I think, given the choice, I would pick Remedial Geometry over Home Economics class.
Sewing it up, cooking with words
No, I have never been, nor never will be, a Domestic Goddess. But I’m OK with that. I think I can claim a place as a Goddess of Knowledge, a fun designation made in jest by a former work colleague, a speech and theatre teacher with a flair for the dramatic. And who doesn’t like a little drama in her life? As a librarian, I don’t have to know how to cook; I only have to know how to find copies of cookbooks on world cuisine for true Domestic Goddesses (or Gods!). As a journalist, I do not have to know how to sew, but I can piece words together to create an article for this column; connect a play on words with a twist of a phrase for a satirical look on an issue or event; or string sentences together to develop an argument that works for opinion.
I am content with my faux title, Goddess of Knowledge; but I am also happy that many of my friends are accomplished, Domestic Gods and Goddesses. After all, they give me something to write about!
Photo by: Author - Dixie Ohlander, All Rights Reserved.
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