When life hands you lemons…

I’m sure we’ve all heard that old adage, when life hands you lemons, make lemonade, but for me it’s not that simple. You see, the kitchen is not where I am at my most confident, so those lemons might not end up as juicy thirst-quenching lemonade. Over the years I’ve tried to learn to be a good cook, but it never seems to work out. I stick to the recipes, weigh and measure everything, make sure the oven is at the right temperature, but all to no avail.

A recent attempt at making gluten-free bread failed miserably with the finished result resembling a replica of the Hunchback of Notre Dame. Then there were the lemon cupcakes that ended up as flat as biscuits, and chocolate covered strawberries that nearly had AJ heading for the dentist chair with a cracked tooth.

The most common sound emanating from our house is the sound of the smoke alarm going off, usually because I’ve wandered away and got caught up in something more interesting than being in the kitchen. A friend (a really good one, I hasten to add) once mentioned that the only action my oven ever saw from me was when I polished it. The same friend bought me a lovely message board and couldn’t resist leaving a little joke on it. It’s a good job I love her, isn’t it?Message Board

My lack of culinary skills has been at the heart of many a joke. Work colleagues never quite let me live down the fact that AJ had been searching for somewhere to hide my Christmas present one year and decided that the oven was the safest place because I rarely went there.

What’s strange is that every time we’ve moved house over the years, the first room I head for when we view a new place is the kitchen. If the kitchen isn’t right, then the house isn’t right. Plus, I adore watching TV cooking shows, and just love buying new kitchen gadgets and equipment.

How I’d love to be able to cook, and really admire those who can throw ingredients in a bowl and a while later produce a mouth-watering dish. But alas, it doesn’t seem to be on the cards. It’s a good thing AJ likes cooking (and is good at it) or the poor chap would likely starve as a result of my woeful attempts.

So, how about you? Do you like to cook? Are you someone who can whip up a cake or meal from the ingredients in your store cupboard, without a recipe? If so, maybe you can send a little magic dust my way. Bon appetit!

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19 responses to “When life hands you lemons…

  1. Ah, Trish, we all have our strengths! I CAN whip up a cake without looking at a recipe, but even though I have a large repertoire of good foods and baked goods,(I made good money at it for a while), I cannot for the life of me recreate my mother’s yeast pastries! Her’s were coveted by family, friends and neighbors and still talked about,No matter how great my wedding cakes, no matter how fine my hors ‘d’oeuvres trays,buffets, or sit-down meals, the fineness and texture of my mother’s is not in the genes or hands…they come out hard.
    But cooking isn’t rocket science. Many great foods are easier once you don’t fear them, which is why I started a [lately neglected] blog to show people that good, mostly homemade foods, are easy.Entertaining is becoming lost because people think they must be ‘Martha Stewarts’ and that is not the case.
    I send “confidence dust” your way!

  2. I can cook, sometimes well. But I don’t like to. There are so many other things I’d rather do. Like a good book. It helps when someone really enjoys the dish because I like cooking for my son. So did his grandmothers though so I usually let them do it.

    With all the great things you can buy pre-made now why bother. Costco pies taste better than mine. Come to think of it, quite a bit of their ready made dinners/deserts do. And, what I lack in the kitchen, I make up for in the store. I’m a good shopper, bet you are too.

    • You are so right, Lavada. Why worry when there are so many good pre-made dishes available. I do feel a bit guilty sometimes, though, and feel I should be making things from scratch. I try several of the recipes posted on this blog, and have had some success with the REALLY easy ones. And, yes, I’m a pretty good shopper 😉

  3. I can’t say I like to cook. I do it adequately, but the kitchen is not my favorite place to be. So I understand how you feel, Tricia. I’m also not a person who can deviate from a recipe…at all! I have to follow it to the letter or it’s a disaster. My family used to groan when I plunked what I called “an experiment” down in front of them. 🙂 However, now that I’m older, I have a core set of recipes I’ve collected that keep us from starving.

    • LOL, Laurie. The old ‘following a recipe to the letter’ syndrome. I know it so well 🙂 It’s good to know I’m not alone in the experimental cooking stakes. We have a TV comedy show over here with a character called Mrs Cropley who makes weird concoctions in her culinary efforts. It’s sometimes hard to laugh at her because it’s too close to home. Glad you managed to get those core recipes together!

  4. Valerie J. Patterson

    I used to love to cook and bake. Made cookies and cakes and candies for Steve all the time. It was nothing to have a homemade sauce simmering for a couple hours. Now, as my work day has gotten longer and my level of stress has increased, cooking is something I *have* to do instead of *want* to do. Steve gets home before me so he usually gets dinner ready. He’s a great cook, too. Sometimes I feel guilty that I don’t at least bake for him like I used to. Thankfully, he doesn’t mind an occasional cake from a box! 😛

    • Time is a huge factor, Valerie, especially when you’re working long hours. It’s good that Steve’s a great cook. I’m not sure what sort of meals we’d eat if AJ wasn’t adept in the kitchen! And the cakes from a box are so good these days, as Lavada said, why bother to stress ourselves when we don’t have to?

  5. Oh, Tricia, how I wish I couldn’t cook, because then Dave would have to take me out to eat more often than he does at present, which is zero! I find cooking a chore that has to be done and most things made from scratch as Dave will not eat most ready meals, as he’s too fussy. To his credit, he has told many a person I’m a better cook than his mother was. Occasionally he will cook, and does it well, but then again, he only likes simple food, a meat and 2 veg man and a chip lover. The more closely I follow a recipe, the more of a disaster it is, and believe me, I’ve had many of those so many I steer away from lists of ingredients and stick to what I know works. Life’s too short to be stuck in the kitchen stuffing mushrooms. 🙂

    • That is some compliment Dave paid you, Kit. A better cook than his mother 🙂 I envy you your ability to throw a recipe together. It’s when I see a whole catalogue of ingredients as long as your arm that panic sets in. And yes, agreed that life is far too short to stuff a mushroom 😉

  6. I do like to cook but I am kind of like you in some respects- I can make some things really well and then some things are a disaster. I am not much on making things pretty either. Taste? yes. Look good? nope. LOL

    Keep trying. AND I’m with you. I love cooking shows and kitchen stuff, too

  7. I hear you, Jillian. Making things pretty? Forget it! But I’d be happy if they could at least taste okay 😉

  8. Boy can I relate. I always thought I would be a good cook when I retired–well that certainly didn’t work. Poor Jim has gotten really good at the CrockPot –thank goodness!! Oh and I love recipe books have dozens!!!

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