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Holiday magic needed to get reluctant microwave chef into kitchen

Voices Of The Clarion

Posted: Sunday, December 25, 2005

Well, here it is Christmas Day. My hope is that while you’re reading this, I am still in my pajamas, having an exquisite homemade meal created by my husband, Mark, and grinning ear to ear as we watch our four golden retrievers play with new toys they don’t need.

Of course, while this is a possible scenario, it’s highly unlikely. I’ll probably be dressed.

Mark is a wonderful cook, though, there’s no doubt about that. In fact, I remember how disappointed people attending his surprise birthday party were a couple of years ago because Mark wouldn’t be making his well-known barbecue ribs. I kept having to explain that asking him to make a huge batch of ribs might somehow give the surprise aspect away.

I, on the other hand, am not known for anything at all when it comes to the kitchen, except for perhaps stacking up dirty dishes.

So you can imagine my surprise when Mark asked me if I wanted to make Christmas dinner this year.

“Sure. What kind of cereal do you want?” I asked.

That earned me “The Look.”

So we started to discuss all of the meals I am well-known for that I could concoct for our holiday feast.

Sadly, I never got past four fingers.

Needless to say, either Mark will be cooking the feast or we will be dining out.

It’s not that I don’t like food. One look at me will tell you I easily could don the costume for the jolly ol’ man. But cooking? That’s an entirely different issue.

I can bake ginger snaps, but I don’t. And I’m quick when it comes to punching in microwave times, but who isn’t?

What can I say? I just have no interest when it comes to cooking.

I think it stems from my childhood. Our kitchen was small, so Mom always did the honors and shooshed us out so we didn’t oversample the goods. I was good at oversampling, but that’s another column.

As I aged and moved out on my own, I tended to be drawn to people who had Mom’s skills. When it actually came to fending for myself, peanut butter and jelly became my friend.

From there I moved on to the hard stuff: boxed meals. Eventually, though, I got hooked on the quick-fix: microwaveable meals.

That would be my downfall.

No, I have never established a claim to fame in the culinary arena. I have, however, found a perfect substitute.

I have become an expert at watching cooking shows. I can sit with the best of them for hours on end and remain glued to the Food Network, drooling and taking notes — even taping segments for future reference.

“Look what they did on Emeril today, honey — sugar cane basted spiral ham with spiced apples and pears! Doesn’t that sound awesome?

“Uh-huh.”

“I taped it. Will you make it for me?”

Mark, although an adventurous soul in the kitchen on many levels, finds little amusement in my newfound hobby.

I seriously thought of giving him the gift of vowing to spend more time in the kitchen and getting acquainted with the oven. After all, it is the season of miracles, right?

OK, so I got him an air compressor. Oh well, there’s always next year.

Dori Lynn Anderson is the managing editor of the Clarion.



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