The Armchair Critic

(Pretending to know everything)


Please Kiss the Cook

Posted by Lee i.

Guess that won't be me because I don't cook. Well, maybe if all the restaurants close down and the economy improves so much no one needs to work as house help anymore, then maybe, just maybe, I will have to cook. But don't bet your life on it. No, really. You might not survive my cooking.

Everyone in my family cooks. If there is a cooking gene, it wasn't passed on to me. I have terrible childhood memories of cooking. I remember we used to have this kalan, a clay stove where we used firewood for fuel. It will take me hours just to get a good fire burning - girl scout training or not. We also had a pipe where I would blow air to start a spark until I was literally breathless. I especially hated it when the ashes would fly into my eyes or into my nose. I would have tears in my eyes from the ashes and the coughing.

The worse part is, the soot from the pots would transfer to my hands and face. They are so difficult to wash off, even with Ajax, so I would sometimes go to school like an Indian with black war paint.

I guess we moved up in the world a little when we finally got a two-burner gas stove. I came home from school one day and there it was - sitting in a corner of the kitchen, the white enamel faintly glowing. My heart sang with joy. Imagine, no more gathering firewood. No more blowing air until I deflate. No more having to clean out the ashes from the stove. And best of all, no more uling on my face.

I couldn't wait to try it. For once, I actually looked forward to actually cooking something. Since I was too small to see what was cooking, I would climb on the sink so I could have a good view of the pot or the pan. From that precarious position I would try to fry an egg.

But I hated that stove with a vengeance, too. It was one of those where you had to push the knob and turn it while simultaneously holding a lit match to the burner. I was warned that I shouldn't leave the knob turned on too long without lighting it as gas would escape into the air. So everytime, I would push and turn the knob while simultaneously trying to light a match with two hands. It rarely worked. And on the few times it did, the gas would burst into flame with a very loud "boof." The sound would always startle me out of my perch by the sink.

The last time I fell, I made a deal with my siblings that I would do their laundry as long as I never had to come near a stove again. They actually believed they were getting the better end of the bargain.