When You’re Here, You’re Hungry! Can I Fire Myself?

I knew it was bad when my husband poured himself a bowl of chips for dinner! Unfortunately I hate cooking and constantly want to fire myself. Whenever someone rubs there belly signaling me that they are hungry, I suddenly feel glued to the couch. My brain searches for an escape route as my energy runs out of the room. Surprisingly I would rather do anything than put on a red oven mitt or de-thaw some meat. I like to pretend that I could be an excellent housewife, hair done, dress on, announcing, “Dinner is served.” However, my sloppy bun and hungry husband slap reality in my face.

So why is making dinner so hard? Is it because I have to do it every night? The clock perpetually strikes 6p.m. and without fail my family stands in the kitchen looking to me for answers.

Or are the tasks what make dinner difficult? For instance- multitasking, how am I supposed to stir the meat, peel the potatoes, drain the peas, all at the same time? If that isn’t enough to think about throw in measurements. How do I make this stick of butter turn into half a cup of butter? It’s a stick.  

Then there is the question, “What temperature do I set my oven at?” No one ever tells you that each oven has a mind of its own. 375 degrees in your oven might result in a golden brown, fluffy, tasty muffin, but my oven swallows that same muffin batter and spits out a black piece of charcoal. Because of this problem, I do like the idea of upside down pineapple cake. Maybe if I turn over my white cake it can make its debut as an upside down chocolate cake. Not right side up burnt cake.

Multitasking, oven temperatures, and measurements can be a lot to think about, but what about chopping things? Is it just me or is cutting up an onion really hard? I mean I already wanted to cry at the mention of “what is for dinner?” And here this onion has the nerve to sting my eyes. At least now I have something to blame for my outburst of tears.

Tasks do make dinner hard, but what about the remembrance of past failures? Every time I manage to muster up a little energy and tell myself “I can do this” I remember the time when I tried to shake the salsa bottle and it flew all over my new placemats and into my husband’s hair. (True story!) If that doesn’t put a hold on dinner, I remember the time I nearly burned my face off. I lifted a lid and thrust my nose into a pot of boiling chicken soup. As the delicious smell surrounded my nose, my eyes fogged over and my skin tightened as the steam sent me straight into a sauna experience. I felt years younger as my cheeks were pulled back. Everybody knows you don’t do that… that is besides me. Basic skills like putting a lid on a salsa bottle or not sticking your face into steam are not my expertise. How can I be expected to make dinner with such failures?

With dinner’s repeated call, my sluggish behavior not improving, and past failures lurking in the back of my mind, dinner isn’t looking promising. And then there is the hurdle of, “What should I make?” As I begin to juggle some pots and pans around, my mind frantically searches for some ideas. For the life of me, I can’t just be decisive and say “We are having spaghetti.”  Instead I mull over how Chile is easy to make or wonder if I have all of the ingredients for potato soup. I poke my head into the fridge in search of something edible, only to see ketchup and a gallon of milk. Once again we have no food! By the time I make this observation, I am practically half way through the Chick-Fil-A drive through desperately screaming “chicken!” “Give me chicken! No! I don’t care about pickles! Just give me anything that is safe to eat.”

As I pull into my garage, hoping nobody has missed me, I secretly throw away the to-go bags. Pulling out some plates, I announce “chicken sandwiches.” I stuff another waffle fry in my mouth and act like I just scored a homerun with dinner. Pathetically smiling I say, “See what good fries I made?” My family’s un-approving glances tell me I’m back on the bench, but they never complain. I mean it has got to taste better than my version of meat loaf or four day old lasagna.

I know I will never be a bonafide chef. For one I had to look up how to spell chef. But maybe I can redeem myself with baking, after all my name is Baker. Is this ironic?