A Good Home

Known for my Cooking

First written about five years ago

I’m known for my cooking. How I wish that were not so.

I burn things, miss some of the ingredients, or forget what I added then put them in all over again.

It’s right there in my books, on my blog, and in the memories of everyone who knows me. And now nobody trusts my cooking.

Take my friend Marilyn.

“Do come for lunch”, I say.

“Oh, great,” she says.  “You choose the restaurant.”

“Choose the wha….?”

What’s the point in visiting a person at home if you’re going to go out for lunch, I think? But I was so glad to see Marilyn, I didn’t say it.

Then there’s Elaine.

“You make the tea,” she said. “But I’ve read your book. So I’ll bring something for us to eat.”

Then one day Jane took sick. Sick people are usually glad to eat what someone else cooks, so I decided to make her one of the few dishes I do well.  

Hmm. Cauliflower stew?

Maybe chicken?

“I could make you a roast chicken”, I phoned Jane and said, not revealing the thing was already seasoned and in the oven.  I was so sure she’d say “Yes”.

But Jane politely declined. “I have pneumonia,” she said. “Don’t want you to get it.”

“I didn’t know you could catch pneumonia from someone else,” I argued.

“Well, with your luck, you just might,” she replied. “But thank you, dear.”

And with that, she hung up. There’s no balm in Gilead, I thought.

So there I was, stuck with a whole roast chicken sitting in my oven. Or lying on its back, as roast chickens are wont to do. Surrounded by lovely roast potatoes.

But the real reason I didn’t push the chicken is because, since I had to deliver it whole, I wasn’t sure how it tasted.

“How ‘bout we eat half and bring her the other half?” I asked my husband.  “That way, we will already know how it tastes. And I’m sure she’ll accept it if I tell her you said it’s good.”

“You can’t bring someone half a chicken!” he replied. “It’s like giving someone your leftovers.”

“But they won’t be leftovers!”

He wasn’t buying it.

What to do?

I’ll cook something for Muriel, I think.

My friend Muriel was in her 80’s, her husband Michael in his 90’s. Michael took seriously ill and had been in the hospital for weeks. Muriel, meanwhile, needed all the help she could get. She spent almost every day at the hospital, returning home exhausted.

I briefly considered giving her a roast chicken too, but then I started to worry – what if it had too much seasoning for her taste? Worse, if she got sick anytime in the next 10 years, I’d know it was my chicken that did it.

Then Muriel called to say Michael was improving. I was so happy, I unthinkingly offered her both roast chicken and butternut squash soup.

She immediately – perhaps wisely – accepted the latter, and I only briefly wondered if Jane had tipped her off.

My soup, meanwhile – made with butternut squash, apples and onions – always turns out well.

So I decided to bring soup for Muriel. And soup for Jane.

Both appreciated it. Success, at last!

But within days, my poor husband claimed he was sprouting feathers.

“Chicken again?” he asked.

Yes, my dear. Until that roast chicken is all gone.

19 thoughts on “Known for my Cooking”

  1. I’m glad you can laugh at your predicament Cynthia. Maybe you shouldn’t keep writing about how bad your cooking is so you can find some people willing to try your cooking. I’m game, but I’ll eat almost anything. 😛

  2. Thanks for the giggle, Cynthia. I can commiserate. I’ve always cooked for an army and don’t know how to cook small but I haven’t the versatility you have. As a very fussy eater, I often turn down perfectly good meals for reasons other than how they might taste. A neighbor made something with stove top stuffing and offered it. I never, ever eat stuffing. Can’t do tomato sauce or onions because the stomach says no so it’s not always about how something is cooked but how it settles. When I get company, I have learned to rely on Matzo Ball soup. So far, no one has disliked it but it’s made from a mix. It will cure pneumonia the way I do it. I gave some to a neighbor last week that came down with Covid. Put it on her back porch and waved. 😉 I am NOT know for my cooking but the kids are still alive. 🙂

  3. I will volunteer to eat whatever you make should we ever meet! I am sure it will taste fine, and it will be made with love.

    My late Uncle Gil was “known for his cooking” in the Army during WWII. He was stationed in Italy, and had an stove known for exploding now and then in his tent. A number of local chickens ended up in his stew pot on that exploding stove. One time soap was accidentally added instead of butter. I am not sure that happened, but I don’t think he lived that one down. He kept on cooking, though!. Ernie Pyle met him once and wrote about him.

  4. 😅….This story made me LOL a few times. I’m glad your soup offer was accepted. I’m always anxious when I cook for someone else. It could be one of my favorite recipes but I fear it won’t come out right. 🤦🏽‍♀️ Thanks for the chuckles and the smiles.

  5. This brought a smile to my face. There is so much pressure when you provide a meal to someone for just the reason that you can’t really taste it beforehand!
    Similarly, my family decline tea at my house as that is something I have yet to master here in Ireland. 🙂

  6. That made me laugh a lot! It also resonated! I like cooking but McOther prefers to do it all himself. He says it helps him wind down after work, I think he’s probably just being tactful … 😉

      1. That we are! I can cook reasonably well but my timings are always terrible. So with a dinner party producing three courses, one after the other when they’re meant to is a major challenge. Whereas my husband makes it look so easy … so I let him do it. 🤣🤣🤣

  7. Well, I’m glad the soup went over well at least, and I enjoyed reading the whole saga! I actually do love cooking and think I’m pretty good at it, but I don’t like cooking for other people because I’m always worried they won’t like it. I’m a vegetarian and a picky eater, so I don’t ever think people will necessarily like the same things I like. I do happily bake for other people though – I feel like people are less fussy about sweet things than savoury.

  8. While I truly believe what you write, I just can’t believe you’re that terrible of a cook, Cynthia. I’m far enough away that you won’t ever need to convince me – haha – but I still suspect you’re just too hard on yourself. (Am I wrong?)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s