Recipe for Disaster
My wife cannot cook—which absolutely does not keep her from trying
My wife can’t cook—but she keeps trying. DAVID THORNE FROM 27BSLASH6.COM
HOLLY CANNOT COOK. She is capable of the process of cooking, but my wife cannot cook, in the same way that an octopus cannot ride a bike. It has enough arms to reach the pedals and handlebars, but the result will rarely be a successful journey from A to B.
I once looked over Holly’s shoulder to discover her crumbling Alka-Seltzer tablets onto a meal she was preparing
because “they are pretty salty and we ran out of salt.”
Another time, I walked into the kitchen to find Holly making toast. I generally feel safe eating toast that Holly has made because it requires minimal ingredients to forget, replace or experiment with. But this toast was a bit thin and soggy.
“What bread is this?” I asked.
“It’s the same bread we always have,” Holly said, pointing to the bag.
“I didn’t even know we had any brea— Oh my God!” I exclaimed. “It has a best-by date of January 2009.”
“It was in the freezer,” Holly said. “The best-by date doesn’t count if the product is frozen.”
“I’m fairly sure there is a limit,” I responded, holding up a slice of bread consisting almost entirely of frost.
“No, there isn’t,” she replied. “I saw a show once where scientists found a mammoth frozen in ice for millions of years. They thawed it out, cooked it and ate it.”
I mention all this because recently Holly stated that she was making nachos for dinner, so I was surprised to be presented with a bowl and spoon an hour later.
“What’s this?” I asked.
“The nachos were a bit runny, so I added a few cups of water,” she replied. “It’s nacho soup.”
“What are these bits in it?” I asked.
“They’re the chips.” Holly sipped a spoonful of nachos and made a drawnout “Mmmmmm” noise. “I put it in the blender, so there shouldn’t be big bits.” “I’m sending out for pizza,” I said. “You never appreciate anything I do,” replied Holly.
“That’s not true,” I said. “I appreciate everything you do. You’re a beautiful, kind, thoughtful person. But if I ordered a hamburger at McDonald’s and they handed it to me in a cup with a straw, saying, ‘Sorry, it was a bit runny, so we threw it in the blender and added two cups of water—it’s Big Mac soup,’ I would assume there was something wrong with the restaurant staff. And if they asked me, ‘Do you want fries with that?’ I surely wouldn’t reply, ‘Yes, mix them in.’”
“It would probably be good,” responded Holly. “But you would never know because you wouldn’t taste it. Even if the guy at McDonald’s spent an hour in the kitchen making it for you and burned his thumb on a saucepan.”
“Fine,” I relented, taking a spoonful and raising it to my mouth. “I’ll taste it.” Sipping the brown and yellow puree, I felt an intense burning sensation not unlike consuming a mouthful of red ants. I swallowed with considerable effort as my eyes began to water, and said, “It’s a bit spicy.”
“Yes,” said Holly. “We were out of cumin, so I used cayenne instead.”