I am not a good cook. But I am a very, very lucky cook. As I have embarked on the process of my own domestication (becoming a domestic goddess) in the last year or so, there have been very few things I have made that were just disgusting or that turned out badly. That is due to my excellent ability to choose good recipes and follow them explicitly - not my own creativity in the kitchen. And I have come a long way - I truly have. Andrew and I were laughing yesterday at how during the first few months of our marriage, throwing a few things in a crockpot for dinner was something I considered complicated and difficult. Now, I never stop trying new things and - dare I say this - am even comfortable in the realm of yeast, which before, was a whole other world that I dared not enter.
The first dish I remember as being the worst thing I have ever tasted, let alone made, was last summer (2007) after we had just barely moved to Oklahoma and were still living in the TLF waiting for our house to become available. We were doing South Beach diet and losing weight like crazy - also venturing into new culinary territory like crazy. That period was the first time I ever cooked fish or made anything other than a bowl of cereal for breakfast on a daily basis. A real turning point. Anyway, one night we made a South Beach meatloaf. I shudder at the thought. It was another first - the first time I had used cooking wine. In meatloaf. Strange, no? YES indeed it was. After all that preparation, I hadn't even swallowed my first bite when I spit it out and declared it a disaster. Andrew agreed. We have never had meatloaf again in this house.
And today was my second major failure. I made candy for the first time. I have been so excited about this for months. Every year I love getting delicious homemade toffee and caramels from other candy connoisseurs, and I determined to be the giver of that goodness this year to my handful of friends here. I bought a candy thermometer and, after spending all morning making rolls, I embarked on my candy-making adventure this afternoon. After being so careful and never looking away from the pot for a second, I still managed to scorch my beautiful toffee. I took a bite and immediately tasted that burned nasty taste instead of the buttery goodness I was expecting. I ate several more pieces just to make certain. But sure enough, I ruined it.
But unlike in times past, I am not giving up. As soon as I replenish my stock of butter, I'll make the second batch of toffee. And there's always caramels and fudge to attempt in the next few days. I didn't happen to get lucky in the candy department this first time. But maybe it's good for me - I could actually develop some skill in the kitchen other than reading the recipe. We shall see. And if you live near me, don't worry. I won't give away any scorched toffee. Unless you get on my bad side...