Friday, February 22, 2008

What I didn't write

I have a confession to make (brace yourself): I am a lousy cook.

It’s hard to admit this. Because I love food. I love thinking about food. I even love thinking about cooking food. I love to read recipes, food blogs, cookbooks. I fantasize about cooking.

But when it comes to actually doing it, I don’t really like to. And I’m terrible at it.

It’s tough for me, because I’d really like to think of myself as a good cook. Once, when we invited some friends over for dinner (which I had made carefully from other people’s recipes), they looked at the table and smiled and said, “I’m so glad you have a pepper grinder. We just knew you guys were the types to be good cooks.”

I just smiled. Because that pepper grinder was a wedding present. Actually, I don’t care for pepper. But I really, really liked this couple, and I really, really liked them thinking I was a good cook.

So I guess I’m the type of person that SHOULD be a good cook. Can that be good enough? Can you just try to think of me as “Darlene who could probably be a good cook, had she been born with the talent?”

And all this applies to the other thing I would like to think of myself as (but I’m not). And that is the author of Angela Hallstrom’s book, Bound on Earth. Now, Angela is my friend and knows that I mean her no malice. She also knows that I don’t mean to imply that I could or should have been the author, particularly IN HER PLACE. I don’t mean that at all. I’m truly, truly ecstatic for her. I’m just saying that I’d really like to be thought as someone who could have produced that book.

Because--well, obviously it’s because it’s a darn good book. Also because she and I could be twins in the kinds of stories we like, the kinds of situations we find interesting to write about. And also because the kind of people who are going to like her book are just the kind of people I want to like ME. I want them to think I’m the type of person who could have produced it.

And don’t even get me started on gardening. Alas to be poetess and actually have no interest in gardening. Sigh.

(Something about this reminds me of Lady Catherine in Pride and Prejudice, who declares something like, “I know I would have been a great pianist if I had taken the time to practice.”)

So. Well.

Anyway, if you don’t mind, please go on thinking of me as a good cook, a good and fascinating writer, and a tasteful and clever gardener. Oh—throw in interior decorator, too. I wouldn’t mind that.

However, I have no interest in being a scrapbooker. You can just skip right over me in your thoughts when it comes to that.

And after all this, I guess I won’t be able to convince you to come to dinner anytime soon, right? Well, come enjoy the hot tub, anyway. I do love to talk. That one I don’t have to fake.


scott said...

I like to cook, Darlene. How 'bout if I come to your house and cook you a nice dinner? Teriyaki salmon with fried noodles and vegies sound all right? I can even talk right while I'm cooking.

Ang said...

Darlene, you are a fascinating and fabulous writer, for Pete's sake!!!

And I'm with you on the gardening, especially. I'm an okay cook, but Forrest is better at it and usually steals my thunder--he truly loves to cook, where every once in a while I like to cook. And I like the idea of gardening, but really dislike the actual doing of it. And I've always felt that was a failure of my personality as a writer because writers are SUPPOSED to be gardeners, too. Something about being creative and willing to coax out beauty and having patience that should show up in my fabulous back yard. Instead, my mom gave me three cool tulip bulbs this fall and they sat on my desk in the kitchen for weeks and then disappeared. Oops!! (And I won't go on to say that Forrest, too, is an excellent gardener and that our yard is all his doing. Except I just did. It's like living with a male Martha Stewart sometimes. A male Martha Stewart who likes snowmobiling and bow hunting.)

Ang said...

And can I say how much I love that new photo on your blog. You look so dang happy, I love it.

Darlene said...

Ooooooooh, name the day, Scott!

Yeah, Angela, it's Maralise-the-wonder-photographer's doing. Which reminds me, I ought to give her credit and link to her website on my blog. I'll fix that.

Marj said...

I feel exactly the same way about cooking. I love looking at and collecting recipes. I like cookbooks. But when it comes to actually preparing a meal. Yikes. And I've seen your scrapbooks and I like the way you scrapbook. I can see how you wouldn't want to be the type to want to put a lof fluff on their pages. I wish I could garden too. I think the key is just practice. I don't feel like I have the time to put into cooking a good meal or whatever else I do to be really good at it.

L@pterces said...

Don't be ridiculous, Dar. You're a fine cook. That time you burned the garlic bread and filled the kitchen with smoke didn't matter a bit! (Whoops- there goes my chance at any future dinner invitations!)

Zina said...

I'm not quite ready to own up to being a lousy cook, but it's definitely about a #3 on my list of priorities, and I'm in a life stage where I never get past #1 or #2 on my priorities list. (True story: one year in the little booklet about their mothers that the kids filled out for Primary, both Ike and Mabel listed, for the "best thing my Mom cooks," "rice krispy treats." Well, it's true, I'm pretty good at them -- except for that I broke the glass bowl I used to make them in the microwave, so I can't make any more rice krispy treats until I get a new bowl.

I would LOVE to someday be able to say that I'd written a book, but unfortunately, for actual topics I don't have much in mind to write about. (Most of my best fodder would be at least loosely based on my dysfunctional family life growing up, or my wild adventures with, um (I think I can say this on someone's blog in the comments where no one will ever see it) crazy mission companions, but I don't really want to hurt the feelings of any of the persons involved, so I just save those kinds of stories for private conversations.)

Barbara Bakes said...

I'm not sure I believe that you aren't a good cook. Perhaps you just need a reason to be in the kitchen. Here's a blog event that's right up your alley - Novel
. If you want, choose something fun and come over and we'll cook it together.

Darlene said...

Yeah, Dave, I always do burn the toast.

No, Barbara, I really, truly am THAT BAD. (See Lapterces's comment above.)

Zina said...

There are no bad cooks, only small, um, actors. (Or something.)

Mindi said...

I'm a horrible cook, too. Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals take me an hour to make. My husband is a far superior cook. Unfortunately, I have to be the one to cook dinner Mon-Fri since he doesn't get home from work until 6PM. I love to eat and look at pictures of food that accompany recipes. It usually leads to me showing Dave the picture and saying, "This looks really good. Will you make it for me?"

Darlene said...

Hey--is that Mindi R.??? Hurray for Berkeley people!

Mindi said...

Yes, it's me again.

Jennifer B. said...

You order a mean Godfather's pizza and your microwave popcorn can't be beat. (Don't mind me walking down memory lane, please. It's so fun!)