I didn’t learn how to cook growing up. It’s not that my mom and dad didn’t know how to cook themselves; they’re both quite good cooks, actually. Dad makes a mean spaghetti sauce and I’ve planned entire weekends around Mom’s French onion soup, endive salad, and eggplant parm. But both of them are, and always have been, so absurdly territorial in the kitchen that I never much felt welcome. There’s many times I’ve tried to help out and perhaps pick something up, and gotten shooed away.
So I stopped trying. I cultivated indifference. I sat back while they cooked real meals for me well into adulthood. Whatever meals I cooked for myself were not real meals — in fact, I don’t know if you could say I “cooked” them. All throughout college and after college, I ate the kind of “instant meals” that American grocery stores are known for: macaroni and cheese, instant rice, ramen noodles, pasta sauce out of a jar. Maybe if I was getting fancy, I’d make a salad or scrambled eggs. Keep reading »