Cooking, like many skills, takes time and experience to master (what is that number they throw around? 10,000 hours to master any skill?). But when you’re newly married, you just kind of learn on the job and make it up as you go along.
That’s the approach I took as a newlywed with my beautiful wife, Jenni. Between the both of us, I had more cooking experience—and besides, Jenni wasn’t a big fan of anything that required more than slapping something between two pieces of bread (she had a sign in her kitchen that said “I only have the kitchen because it came with the house!). That left the kitchen as unclaimed territory, and I was free to do as I wished.
I did have a little cooking experience, but a lot more wishful thinking than any real inherent talent. My mom tells iconic story of me pouring salt and pepper into pots and pans from the age of two onwards! She didn’t trust me much though—after multiple mishaps, including dumping an entire pizza on the bottom of the oven and leaving the dinner rolls in for over 6 hours. After that, it was “watching IS helping!”
Some companions on my mission didn’t necessarily appreciate the enthusiasm either. On transfer day, my new companion and I didn’t have much in the refrigerator to tide us over until preparation day on Monday, the appointed day for missionaries to do the chores and write home. We could have gone shopping and justified it out of necessity, but I wanted to at least try my hand at making do.
We didn’t have much to work with. I made pasta with a chocolate/apple/potato sauce. It didn’t get high rating, and unfortunately, it got me banned from the kitchen!
So, today after work. Let’s see, so what do I have to work with? I need to have a base. Potatoes? No—they’re kinda moldy. Oh yeah, the smell. Those have got to go. We have plenty of corn meal. I could try something with corn bread!
Something with chili? Nah, not in the mood. But beans do go well with cornbread. Jenni bought some white beans a while back for a recipe that she forgot about. We’ll use those. I can throw in a few onions, chop up some carrots, and toss in some peas too!
I’d like to think my skills have improved since the chocolate pasta fiasco. At least is able to eat it these days!