Sometimes you just have to face the facts of life. I come from a long line of confident, fantastic, self-taught cooks. If I had the choice I would hire my mom as my in-house chef. My grandmother refused to eat out more than once a week. My great-grandmother used make everything from scratch, she’d start working on the next meal immediately after the present meal was finished. Then, there’s me. It’s quite sad really. There are few dishes I know how to make well (by few I mean exactly three), but I would never call myself a cook. Well, I guess I would call myself a cook, I just wouldn’t put good in front of it. Want-to-be-one-day-please-help-me would be a better fit.
No matter what the actual reason is for why I can’t perfectly recreate a recipe from a cookbook, bottom line is I can’t. Even though I spend so much of my valuable time in the supermarket finding cremini and shiitake mushrooms, I can’t prepare the recipe to taste, or even look like, a fraction of the perfectly styled, carefully edited picture in the cookbook.
Like all things that are tough in life though, finding something to place the blame on makes it easier to accept. I’ve done precisely that. I blame my terrible cooking skills on the lack of tools in my kitchen. I blame writers of cookbooks, and even alleged ghost writers*, for sharing recipes needing tools and ingredients which only a professional chef would keep in their home.
Almost all cookbooks have tools/ingredients/supplies outlined before the recipes start, everything you’ll be using throughout the book is detailed. Most of the time I have somewhere close to 10 out of 50 of them. Take ‘Jamie’s 30 Minute Meal’s’ for example, out of the 56 tools Jamie Oliver outlines on page 21 of his book, I have 11 of them (and that’s not counting when there is a multiple of one thing, e.g. two large wooden chopping boards. Instead of one? WHY!).
Yikes, you say? I know. I wouldn’t exaggerate the number to add drama or suspense, I promise. This is not a film or television show, this is my life! And that’s just one example – I’ve fact checked this myself with multiple cookbooks! The sad truth is I am just not an all around package yet. I’m missing the tools, the wild flavors I’ll only ever need for one recipe a month, the gourmet kitchen. All I have now is the mental capabilities, the right attitude and the cookbooks. (A large sigh seems appropriate here.)
I know one of these days, more specifically: the day I get the chance to have my state-of-the-art kitchen, I will go overboard. I will relish in it. I will make my kitchen look like the ‘Toys R Us’ of kitchen utensils. I’m hopeful it will end up looking something like the one pictured. Plus more. Lets all keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best. But hear me when I type, I will never admit that I simply just can’t make the green curry sauce actually come out the color green when attempting to make the Green Curry Chicken with Kimchee Slaw and Rice Noodles recipe. I will never admit that maybe I’m just a food lover, not a food maker. I must never admit defeat!
* Rachael Ray and Gwyneth Paltrow may or may not have used ghost writers. (Despair! Outrage! Betrayal!)