Quarantine can be very boring, but at the same time we all have a lot of free time on our hands to learn new things. In the past few weeks, I’ve tried learning a number of new skills: crocheting, scrapbooking, origami, professional wrestling, communicating with the “other side”, etc. … For my next project, I’ve been thinking about learning to cook. However, this is a road I’ve been down before. I guess you could say I’m a “disaster cook,” or something like that. Don’t get me wrong, I can cook some things nearly perfectly: cheese and crackers, peanut butter and jelly … but the world of cooking has been a dangerous one for me, and I hesitate to re-enter it. Don’t believe me? Perhaps I can provide some examples…

  • One day I attempted to make scrambled eggs and ended up ducking behind kitchen chairs and the table to avoid the burning fat that was shooting at me from the pan at a velocity higher than that of an evil alien spaceship. 

  • I’ve set oven gloves on fire a few times. The routine of putting the gloves out usually goes something like this: First, see the fire. Two, comprehend the situation. Three, shriek. Four, pace and shriek. Five, recover. Six, cover the glove with a lid to deprive it of oxygen. Seven, repeat all steps two minutes later.

  • Another day, I achieved something few people think is possible. I burned spaghetti. I know, I knowhold the applause. How did I do it? Apparently, if you put too little water in the pan, and too much spaghettithe pasta will be pressed against the bottom of the pan and burn. Needless to say, my family went a bit hungry that night.

That’s not even all the examples, truth be told. I’ve created a savory cake when I meant to make a sweet one, I’ve made charred cookies, and I’ve spilled so much flour that my kitchen looked like there had just been a fresh snowfall. But everyone’s done that last one.

    So the decision to learn to cook in quarantine is not a simple one. My hands shake as I reach for the oven gloves. Eggs and butter next to one another bring me red-tinged flashbacks. I avoid the word spaghetti all together…

But perhaps I will brave the kitchen again. I must prepare for it, and preparing will be a lengthy process. I must shape muscles the size of the Alps, so that I can safely carry pans of boiling water to the sink. I must train for at least seven years at a fireman’s academy, so that I am fully prepared for any oven glove debacles. I must remember the sacred rule: lots of water, only a little spaghetti. 

I’ve been thinking about what my first dish will be. I want to start with something easy, and work my way upthat’s the safest way. I’m thinking about starting with peeling the yogurt lid off a yogurt, but that sounds a little risky. Eventually, though … I have grand dreams every night of wedding cakes two yards high, at-home sushi bars with live fish swimming around a kitchen aquarium, perfectly cooked spaghetti … Wish me luck. I can see myself now: seven years from now, more buff than a professional wrestler, clad in full metal armor, filling pans with unprecedented amounts of water.

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