Originally written for eVent! [ep] magazine on 08/10/06.
As a rule I do not cook. However the reality of life is that you can't eat out all the time, unless you're the cartoon mascot for the Monopoly board game. Sooner or later water will need to be boiled, stirred and eventually sieved as meals are prepared and eaten.
I have successful made it to this point with no particular culinary skills to speak of. Oh I can order sushi from a menu, and dial up a pizza but actual cooking well I don't really do that. I can boil water and make the Kraft Dinner. Sometimes if I don't have KD I'll cook some pasta and cover it with margarine and ketchup. I can make toast and add some peanut butter and as a result of my five months in Home Economics in high school I can scramble eggs and sew a fancy shark shaped pillow.
This lack of kitchen skills is something that concerns my girlfriend, who wants me to start eating better, because she figures that I might burn down my apartment while trying to cook some salmon. Deciding that I needed some education she took me to the grocery store to begin the learning process to turn me into a great chef.
My typical trips to the grocery store are astonishingly brief. I buy pop, pizza pops and perogies. Yes, basically my shopping list tends to begin and end with the letter 'P' which makes it easy, though not as easy as it would be if they would finally just take my advice and alphabetize the supermarket. Anyway apparently when you intend on doing more to your food than just microwaving it or boiling it, there is whole other sections of the supermarket that have actual things you need to buy. This is especially true because my girlfriend is a natural foods advocate and likes to search out the products that have no chemicals in them. In my mind of course chemicals are simply nature's way of letting us correct nature's screw-ups.
After a lecture on why butter is better than margarine and on what reason anyone would have for owning more than one type of vinegar we were in my kitchen where my girlfriend was shocked again and again by my lack of certain cooking implements that are apparently considered "basic".
"You have," she said accusingly, "a ice cream scoop but no sharp knives, no salad tongs and no spices of any kind?"
I pointed out that I had salt and pepper, which are types of spice, though that was not a particularly strong argument since we had just bought them at the grocery store that day. She is right, I am not someone who is particularly prepared for a life in the culinary arts. Though my apartment came with things like a gas stove and an oven I have yet to use them to their full potential. Apparently the plastic sieve I have been using it not good enough, apparently if all the restaurants in Kelowna closed down next week I would starve.
No, that's not true. I would not starve; I would learn to cook in my own fashion. I would reheat leftovers and microwave pizza pops. I would wander the 'P' aisle of the now alphabetized supermarket.