I am talented in many areas…but cooking is not one of them.
I grew up basically with meat and three veg, had a sister who like to experiment, and a brother who became a chief. I never needed to enter the kitchen.
So when I first moved out of home it was quite a learning curve. Even after this many years being married, the kitchen always gets the best of me. My brother jokes that I could burn water. I just can’t seem to get the order correct. I end up with cold steak and hard potatoes. Although, for some reason I can make fantastic gravy.
As for my other offerings, let’s just say I know my husband loves me, because he ate burnt dinners for about a year, before he decided it was best if he took over the cooking. Over time, I’ve learnt how to make about a handful of staple meals, and when that rare moment comes around when it is my turn to cook, you can bet it’ll be one of about seven meals.
So, you can understand the way I felt about baking. No way. Not a chance. Not on your life. I did try it early on in my life, and ended up with a cake that could be used to pave the driveway. Then…one day I was waiting in the library and saw a book on cake-pops. The thing which caught my attention was the line
It doesn’t matter what your cake looks like when it comes out of the oven, you could even use a microwaved made cake, because you’re going to crumble it anyway.
I borrowed the book.
My first few attempts were, unsurprisingly enough, disasters. I’d never worked with chocolate in my life. That stuff burns easily, and goes absolutely disgusting if it mixes with water. But, when I made my first successful batch…they turned out amazing. So much so, that people ask when I’m going to make the next batch.
I even made some for my brother’s wedding. (The chief!) I made them gluten free, and his comment was, “Not bad. Like all gluten free it’s a bit bland, but add some flavouring to the vanilla cake next time.”
Now, that may not sound like much, but from him – regarding cooking – that’s pretty high praise. He suggested that ‘next time’ was a viable option.
From there, I gained the courage to experiment further. Now I can make cake-pops, cupcakes, one-layer cakes, snickerdoodles, and jelly (jello?) from scratch (not packet mix). Jelly making is my favourite thing. I love to experiment with flavours, and I’ve never had one not turn out well. Two of my most asked for is the Lemon, Lime and Bitters one, and the apricot and coconut one.
My husband and I have a deal. He makes dinner. I make dessert.
For some reason ‘baking’ is easier for me. It’s one item followed through to the end. Not half a dozen things on the go at once. I can handle multi-taking in the office, but in the kitchen…I need to keep it very, very simple.
I used to feel like a failure because I couldn’t cook. Now I look at it like this. A person cannot be good at everything. Be good at what you are good at. Enjoy it and have fun. For everything else, there will be other people.
There is truth in the saying – it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
I can write a book, but I can’t build a website, or do graphic design, or make merchandise/swag. And it is such a relief to know that I don’t have to know everything. I just have to find someone else who does know what I don’t.