Some have cook­ing gene, some don’t

The Covington News - - LIFESTYLE - PAULA TRAVIS COLUM­NIST Paula Travis is a re­tired teacher from the New­ton County School Sys­tem.

My hus­band was watch­ing an af­ter­noon TV show last week on which a chef of some renown was cook­ing. He had toasted an English muf­fin and sliced it. On the bot­tom half he put a slice of ham he had cooked in a fry­ing pan, and he topped that with some cheese. He had baked eggs in ramekins, and he placed one of the eggs on top of the cheese and ham and then put some sauce on the other half of the English muf­fin and put it on the egg. The other hosts then got to en­joy the re­sults.

My hus­band called me in to watch the process. When it was all fin­ished, he asked me if I had any ramekins. He wanted to try to re­pro­duce the process. I told him no. He asked if we have any­thing re­sem­bling a ramekin. I replied that we have some cup­cake tins. (I didn’t tell him they were prob­a­bly rusty.)

My thought about this process was this: Why would you go to all that trou­ble when you could get the same thing from a fast­food place?

The fol­low­ing day I had lunch with four friends. I had a good time, and some of the con­ver­sa­tion had me some­what be­mused.

One friend said that she had en­joyed a salad that an­other lady had brought to a func­tion. That lady re­sponded with the recipe for the salad dress­ing and salad, which hap­pened to in­clude pears. The first lady said that she par­tic­u­larly liked the salad be­cause the pears were slightly un­ripe and crisp. The other agreed that the crisp­ness of the pears made the salad.

Then a third lady asked the se­cond lady if she had any ground lamb in her freezer. She said that she had been in a book­store and had bought a new cook­ing magazine. She en­joyed the magazine so much that she had made din­ners for the past few nights based on recipes in the magazine.

The dish she had pre­pared the night be­fore in­cluded ground lamb, and she had made a sauce that in­cor­po­rated cit­rus rather than the tra­di­tional tzatziki sauce. Both ladies dis­cussed var­i­ous recipes for mak­ing tzatziki. The orig­i­nal speaker said she par­tic­u­larly like this magazine be­cause it stressed recipes for foods that were in sea­son.

Some­one asked what was in sea­son in Jan­uary. Kale was the an­swer. Sev­eral more recipes for kale were then men­tioned, along with the fact that Pizza Hut is the coun­try’s largest con­sumer of kale, which is used as a gar­nish on its salad bar.

I went home and re­lated the con­ver­sa­tion to my hus­band. I then apol­o­gized and told him that he had mar­ried the wrong woman.

I must not have a cook­ing gene.

When my chil­dren were lit­tle and liv­ing at home and my hus­band went out of town or would not be home for din­ner, my chil­dren and I cheered and or­dered pizza. We did not think, “What fancy thing can we cook now?”

When my hus­band is not go­ing to be home for din­ner now, I do not go to the gro­cery store and buy some­thing fancy to cook for my­self. I ei­ther get a take­out salad or cook ba­con and eggs. I never have ba­con and eggs for breakfast, so it is a treat to have this breakfast for din­ner.

My sis­ter, within the past six years, re­mod­eled her kitchen. Her chil­dren are up and raised and she lives alone. She put all new ap­pli­ances and tile and floor­ing in the kitchen. She even had a spe­cial shelf built for her mi­crowave un­der the counter. She is barely 5 feet tall and finds a mi­crowave above the stove too hard to use.

Her new stove has a glass top. One of her friends re­marked that glass-top stoves re­ally do not cook as well as gas stoves. (My cook­ing friends tell me the same thing. I also have a glass-top stove.) My sis­ter replied that that may be true, but her stove suits her per­fectly.

“Since I don’t cook,” she said, “the stove is very easy to clean. I just have to dust it once in a while.”

Nei­ther of us in­her­ited a cook­ing gene.

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