For a few years now, I've been fooling people around me. People seem to be under the impression that I am an adult. It's an elaborate deception; like an adult, I went to work, I paid my bills, I did my laundry, but I never considered myself to be an adult.
I still eat ice cream for breakfast in the summertime. When I see kids begging for candy at the grocery store, sometimes I buy it not because I WANT candy, necessarily. I buy it because I *can*, and there isn't a thing anyone can do to stop me.
What really convinced me that I am a total fraud is cooking . I do a fine job with executing recipes, but I can't look in the fridge and compose dishes by memory or invention. I watch other people (I call them "adults") glance at the contents of their refrigerators and divine up brilliant and delicious dishes. Not me.
Meal planning is another challenge, mostly because my inner six-year-old wants something different on Wednesday than I did on Sunday (when I was trying to be an adult an plan my meals).
I confessed to Laura that I am a fraud, after she complimented a dish that I had prepared for a pot luck, and she laughed hysterically at my heartfelt, shame-filled confession. Maybe I hadn't been clear enough.
"I don't know how to throw things together. I look up what I want to cook, buy the ingredients, and make it," I explained.
Laura laughed even harder, then declared that EVERYONE is a fraud, and that there were no real adults. Apparently, everyone is guilty of perpetuating an elaborate social ruse. Who knew?
Mom told me that it wasn't about any secret that I didn't know - it was my cookbooks. I picked my cookbooks based on specific dishes or skills; I bought Soup: A Way of Life for the Quibebe recipe, the America's Test Kitchen cookbook for the tomato soup recipe, and the Williams Sonoma "Meat" cookbook for the Texas Chili recipe.
(Yes, there are loads of great recipes, but those were the clinchers.)
"You need a good, basic cookbook," Mom said, "A Fannie Farmer, or the Joy of Cooking. You do the complicated stuff well; this will be a breeze."
Laura mentioned that she had a few copies of The Joy of Cooking, so I asked to borrow one to flip through before investing in a Very Large Cookbook. To my great surprise (and intimidation), Laura GAVE me one of her copies (yes, still plural) of Joy of Cooking, along with a few of the Better Homes and Gardens recipe binders.
A few nights ago, I made meatloaf for the first time. It's not a big deal for most of you, but I am ridiculously proud of myself. I prepped the meatloaf, threw it in the oven, then worked on getting the sides (steamed carrots, green beans, potatoes, and gravy) prepped and timed to be ready when the meatloaf was done.
Before you start admiring my adultitude, wait a moment.
Like with knitting (and everything else in life), with cooking you should read the directions all the way through FIRST. Had I done that, I could have knit through an uninterrupted repeat on my Cece cardigan, instead of trying to figure out why my oven refuses to actualize its potential. (It seemed that while the knob reads one temperature, the oven itself runs 75 degrees colder than the knob claims.)
While I can appreciate LukeWarm (my oven's name)'s desire to tell me that he's hot and ready for my tasty morsels, he's just too small for my needs, and really takes too much time to get me what I need. Which is (in case you weren't clear on it) hot, delicious food in a reasonable amount of time.
(Don't tell LukeWarm, but I've been trying to burn him out with my constant attention so that I can move on with Prince PipingHot. I need size and heat and will accept no substitutes.)
In any case, after figuring out how much I need to compensate for LukeWarm's lackluster performance, when the time came I held my breath for the moment of truth: How is this dish?
A rousing success! Plates were cleared, and for the first time in almost five years of marriage, Andrew went for seconds. Then joked about licking his plate. I thought it was pretty good, too.
With the help of friends and family, I think I might just earn my adult badge someday. Or at the very least, a really convincing fake.