Being stuck inside a Wisconsin winter, even the easiest-going person can find themselves absorbed in the business of escape. Some plan summer vacations. Some make ice sculptures. Some bury themselves under layers of blankets and wait for the first ray of sun to melt a snow mound or ten. Me? I watch cooking shows. Now, I watch the Food Network year-round. No biggie. But the it becomes a problem when I think I can actually COOK like the Iron Chef or the Master Chef. Like, if I only took a few hours and paid attention and bought all the right food and wrote down every little detail, that my dish might look (and taste) like Iron Chef Michael Simon’s or Gordon Ramsey’s.
I imagine I could just as well try to paint like Monet or sing like Beyoncé.
I watched Master Chef Junior recently and was humbled by what 9- and 10- and 12-year-olds could do with a basket or a piece of fish. I have seen what Rachel Ray and Guy Fieri’s kids did during a cook off. Then there’s always what the contestants on Chopped make out of pickled pigs feet and reindeer pate. Amazing. And, of course, there’s always Rachel and Robert and Guy and Alton who make gourmet out of kitchen scraps. I look at my jar of garlic powder and pound of lean ground beef and feel overwhelmed.
Don’t get me wrong. I love cooking. I have whipped up many a gourmet dish in my time. My homemade spaghetti sauce is to die for (or at least good enough to have third helpings). I have tried trifles, coq au vin, and shrimp scampi. But with working full time and a few personal bumps and my anti-cancer meds making me tired and sunset before I get home and below zero temperatures — let’s just say my cooking aspirations have turned into mounds of grey slush. Kinda flat and uninspiring.
I know it will come full circle — that with spring flinging in a few months I will whip out the cookbooks or surf the Food Network website and I’ll be wowing my dinner guests and myself.
Until then, I think I’ll let my husband cook.
How bout you? Are you cooking away a storm these freezy days?