"Tastes like heaven". If you told me 12 years ago that my husband would say this to me about my homemade tomato soup and grilled mozzarella and roasted red pepper sandwich, I would have laughed in your face and wondered how you could be so cruel.
I was raised in a home where money was tight and sense of culinary adventure was seriously lacking. My mother's idea of a spice rack consisted of salt and pepper. I can't blame her though. The lack of culinary expertise stretches back for generations. My husband's mother, on the other hand, is a professional cake decorator of international fame. I'm not kidding. She knows her way around the kitchen. I have a lot to live up to in this department.
I am not a detail-oriented person and certainly not a perfectionist. This isn't really detrimental to good cooking. It can still be done, if you are lucky. Let me explain myself further. I planned to make sweet potato casserole for dinner the other day. I went to the store and bought all the ingredients. When it came time to start making it, I realized I forgot the sweet potatoes. They weren't even on my list! Now you start to see the problem.
Take, for example, the first time I cooked for my future husband. I made meatloaf- a rather foolproof recipe...until I got my hands on it. Did you know, there is a significant difference between a tablespoon and a cup? There is really no way to fix a mistake of this magnitude, especially when it's a liquid. I was measuring ketchup and thought, "Hmm, this is a lot of ketchup. Oh well," and dumped it in. I proceeded to mix it up and wonder why it wasn't assimilating into the meat. Only then did I double check. Short of making a 10 pound meatloaf, it was beyond repair. I shamefacedly ordered pizza. Strike One.
The next time he came for dinner (brave soul), I decided to keep it ridiculously simple. I threw some fish sticks on a pan and into the oven. 18 minutes later I pulled them out of the oven cooked to perfection- except for the cat hair. It seems my roommates cat had made a home out of the cabinet with the baking sheets. Major league embarrassment and Strike Two.
My darling husband decided to take a chance that he could live despite my cooking, so he married me. Apparently he planned to eat a hearty lunch at work to avoid starving to death at dinner. I don't know what he planned to do for the weekends.
For our wedding we were given beautiful cookware by some well-meaning soul. I briefly considered using them as home decor and mounting them on the mantle rather than continue creating gastronomic disasters. However, I was raised to never say die- I might kill all my dinner guests, but I'd never say die.
The next 9 years were filled with foul-tips, to continue the metaphor in an unappetizing way. There have been countless dinners I've had to start twice and baking adventures where I've had to try to retrieve too much salt from a bowl of flour, baking soda and baking powder. I will tell you that it can be done. I've learned to get it right the second time around, usually not the first. But every once in a while, I hit a grandslam homerun. And the crowd goes wild.