The waiter looked at me and asked, “What can I get for you?”
It was a regular night in college. My friends and I were hanging out at Denny’s – which was one of the few places open after 9pm in that small desert town – where our college seemed to have been dropped at the bottom of a bowl and forgotten.
I said laughing, “Can I get turkey with stuffing, and instead of corn can I get stuffing with another side of stuffing.”
The waiter laughed, “If you eat all that, you’ll be stuffed.”
This was a good night for my eating habits in college.
My best friend from college and I were reflecting today about how far my eating habits have come and how I have learned to cook. In college, there was a point when 50% – 75% of my diet consisted of Vanilla cokes (which my friend Jake and I affectionately called ‘V-Cokes,’ and Caramello bars with an occasional potato thrown in for good measure. I was known for nuking corn dogs to eat and eating fast food like it was going out of style.
Fast-forward five years – Seiya and I had just started dating. He had cooked many meals for me. He looked at me one day and said, “Why don’t you make dinner for me? I’ve got to run out, but I will be back in about an hour.”
What!? He knew I didn’t know how to cook.
I said trying to sneak my way out of it, “You sure you want me to cook. You know me. I don’t even know where to begin.”
He said, “I’d love for you to cook for me. Let me help.”
‘Yes, he was going to help me!’
He pulled a can of tomato sauce off the shelf and said – put this in a can, add herbs, add vegetables and make some pasta. Pasta was easy. I’d made Kraft Mac and cheese 100x before that part would be easy. But what vegetables? what herbs? how much? at what time?
I couldn’t disappoint him. We hadn’t been together that long. I didn’t want to look stupid and incompetent no matter how much that may have been true in the culinary department.
He left and I let out a barbaric yell.
First, I would start with the can opener. He had some archaic can opener that seemed like it would have even been an antique in the 1950’s. How did I open it?
I tried to stick the can opener on, but it didn’t stick. I mumbled under my breath and kicked the counter. I then started hitting the can with the can opener. I could her my mother’s voice in my head say, ‘You have to be smarter than the can opener.’
I called Seiya to ask how to open it. After struggling a little I got the can open. I hung up. I felt triumphant and he wasn’t going to make me feel like anything less by reminding me i had no idea where i was going with this.
i looked for recipes online. But many recipes required more ingredients than I had.
I wanted to cry. I was going to disappoint him. He would learn not only was I not domestic, but I didn’t have a domestic bone in my body.
My stepmother always made the most amazing angel hair pasta. She had to know how to make tomato sauce.
i called her and she walked me through things step by step, “Do you have any basil?” “Okay, cut that up and put it in the tomato sauce.” “What about mushrooms?”
By the time Seiya came home, I had a nice plate of spaghetti and tomato sauce waiting for him.
It’s a good thing he taught me to cook, but as the years have gone by my stomach has gotten worse and worse. I can no longer drink soda, eat Caramello bars or eat corn dogs. In fact, I have to eat a low-fat fairly healthy diet. I can only eat fish and chicken for meat. I can only eat certain fruits and vegetables.
Thank God I am domesticated. (yes I know the word is domestic)