My aversion to cooking is well known to anyone who has the slightest bit of knowledge about me.
Oh, I keep thinking I’ll get better at it. I collect recipes and cookbooks like they are going out of style, and every Christmas my significant other fulfills my wishes and buys me the latest in kitchen gadgets.
The problem? I end up being forced to dust them all for lack of use.
I’m just not a natural at it, and I never will be. My failures in the kitchen were amplified when I worked at the Akron Beacon Journal because I sat alongside this wonderful reporter named Lisa Abraham, who covered county government at the time but was an unabashed foodie. (In a fitting sidebar, Lisa has since moved to the food writer’s job there, and just won honors from the national food writers group for the column she writes weekly.)
Lisa is a person who instinctively knew what to throw in any dish to make it just so. Not me. And I lamented that fact to her daily when she’d recount what she had for dinner while I salivated over what was being made that day in the cafeteria — by someone else.
I thought of Lisa as I recently read her annual Thanksgiving Day food page — prepping those of us out there for a day we dread. She used to (kindly) beret me for using boxed stuffing for the holiday — honestly, I didn’t realize there was anything but boxed dressing.
And that led me back to a memorable exchange I had with her two years ago about my daughter, whose a foodie-in-the-works. Must be Daddy’s gene pool, that’s all I have to say.
“Want to know how bad of a mother I’m going to end up being? I have a child with a cooking gene.
A couple weeks ago, we go to get pumpkins. She grabs a couple big ones, then finds a bin of little tiny ones that are oh so cute. Those are pie pumpkins, I say. Not because I know, but because I can read the sign saying so.
But I want this one, my darling 4-year-old answers.
OK….so get it. No biggie, right?
Yeah, until we get home and she says: OK, Mommy, let’s make pumpkin pie.
I change the subject. Then she tells my mom we are going to make pumpkin pie. And she tells Lewis, who conceals his laughter from her because she is so earnest about it.
So what am I going to do? I thought about buying one and telling her I made it while she was at school. But that seemed, oh well, crappy.
So I did what any cooking impaired mother does….I went to the store and bought something that basically said pumpkin pie in a can. All I had to do was add evaporated milk or something (which luckily, I had in the cupboard from a futile cooking attempt earlier this year that prompted me to somehow buy like 15 cans of it) and pull out a frozen pie shell and voila – My daughter and I made pumpkin pie.
And, after all that, what does she say when I ask if she wants a piece?
“No, I don’t like it. I just wanted to make it.”
And so ends the story of pumpkin pies at our house. I won’t even print Lisa’s reply, the laughter of which I swear I could hear the full distance of 52 miles from Akron to Elyria.(And yes, she squeezed in an aside that StoveTop stoving isn’t for Thanksgiving in that exchange … again.)