How to Succeed as a Terrible Cook

For the first two years of my marriage and all the rest of my earlier life, I had no clue how to cook. My family tells horror stories of my cooking escapades around their campfires (not really, but they do around the dinner table at reunions). How my husband survived those first two years, I’ll never know. I guess he traveled a lot during that time so I suppose dinners abroad sustained him through dinners at home.

Well, after we had our first child, I decided to learn to cook. I spent a lot of time on the couch [nursing] anyway so why not watch Food Network while I’m at it? I’m happy to say, my cooking much improved after that and my entire household rejoiced. But, as an “ode” to those earlier years, I wrote down 10 tips that accurate portray those early cooking habits I maintained. Buen provecho!

Ten Tips for Ensuring the Success of a Terrible Cook

  1. Don’t read recipes.  Recipes are boring.  Glance over a recipe to get an idea of what it suggests and then just go for it!
  2. Don’t use timers, or ignore them when they do go off.  Everyone likes food a little more crispy than what they say they like.  Besides, if it ends up too dark, just hand over the goods to your neighbors.  They’ll appreciate your good intentions.
  3. If you don’t have time to go grocery shopping, work with what you have in the fridge.  Tortillas + cheese + Miracle Whip + diced olives + diced oysters + jalapenos = a spicy, exotic burrito.  If the fam has a problem with it, make them cook!
  4. If you are going to burn the green beans, make sure they burn enough to turn the bottom of the pan black.  Then, have your husband clean it up.
  5. Leftovers are excellent.  The longer one good meal lasts, the longer you can go without cooking again.  2-week old soup?  Just make sure it’s hot enough that your hubby and kids can’t tell the chicken is stale.  And if the beans have turned to mush by then, tell them that that’s the way it’s supposed to be.  Hey, they did it in the old days, right?  Isn’t that where the Peas-Porridge Hot nursery rhyme comes from?
  6. Always include a vegetable with the meal, even if that vegetable is steamed spinach.  Come on!  Pop-Eye didn’t have a problem with it!
  7. Always make sure the pan is nice and hot before greasing it.  If it happens to smoke a bit?  Hey! It’s good to cry every once in a while.  Just open the doors and windows and allow that lovely burned-butter smell tantalize the passersby.
  8. If it tastes lame, add all or some of the following: green chilies, chili powder, salt, red pepper, butter, and/or brown sugar.  Remember: If it’s super spicy, then you don’t have to worry about it tasting bad; no one will be able to taste anything.
  9. Anything can go in soup.  Just add some chicken bouillon, chili powder, garlic and onions, and taco seasoning to anything you have left in the fridge.  Stick it all in a crock pot and let it simmer for the next four hours…or six hours…or ten hours…. Suggestions: green olives don’t taste all that great.  Peas get mushy quickly.  Don’t put zucchini in until the last few hours.
  10. After following all these tips and instructions, your husband and/or your kids should be so sick of your meals that you’ll either go out to eat most of the time, or someone else will volunteer to do the cooking.

 Mission Accomplished!

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