“I can actually fucking cook!” I brag to my coworkers on a Monday.
By the end of Thursday night, I’ve sworn off cooking for at least the next decade.
My boyfriend and I have just moved in together. And in some weird twist of completely anti-me-ness, I have gone all Susie Homemaker and I’ve been cooking up a surprisingly savory storm in our apartment kitchen.
Let me back up a second. Prior to this boy in my life, this was my attitude on cooking: “What is the fucking point?” I had, literally, no good reason to prepare a meal. The women at Whole Foods make me feel bad about my body AND my soul and yet the fruit from Albertson’s is actually bad for my body and my soul. And dishes? My idea of doing the dishes is not creating any to do.
But now I have this starving, growing boy sharing my bed and making me fold his shirts the way he folds them even though I’m folding them for him and now I genuinely feel like I have someone to take of. It’s my moment to shine, or at least my moment for my cooking to shine.
Like, seriously, when I pull that almost perfectly browned but definitely smelling delicious chicken cordon bleu from the oven, Julia Child’s bombastic voice congratulates me and Aretha Franklin serenades me and all is temporarily right in the world.
Who knew providing for a man would make me feel like a real woman.
So after a few weeks of successfully being a real woman every night of the week, well, except for the nights when I drink too much whiskey and we order Chinese food and watch Breaking Bad marathons, comes the night I swear off cooking.
My boyfriend had broken the sink. And while I was working, and he was napping and checking Facebook at home, I requested one thing of him, which was to fix the sink he’d broken.
Instead of fix the sink, he put in the wrong kind of plumber stuff, and eroded the sink further. Which I discover when instead of rinsing the lettuce that evening for the lovely dinner I was about to cook (for him), I flood the cupboard beneath the sink.
So the boyfriend decides to grab pita and hummus and sink down on the sofa and snack. I’m infuriated. What about me? What am I going to eat? Why didn’t he actually fix the sink? Why does adult life suck so goddamn hard? These mean, evil little thoughts are flashing through my head as I stick a pan on the stove with some oil and go with plan B (frozen potstickers) — see how that works? I love providing for him as long as everything is going smoothly, and the second there’s a problem, I am angry that he’s not providing for ME. It’s very logical and completely beyond reproach.
Which is not how I feel about him eating hummus and me going starving although now that I take another look at that hummus it looks pretty darn yummy right about broken kitchen sink now. So I sheepishly begin eating the hummus…
And forget that I had the oil on high.
I swish off into the kitchen with a sort of annoyed flourish which goes completely unnoticed by him, and grab a few potstickers to throw into the pan.
And then, when I do.
Flames. Big ones. The pan literally explodes in combustion, these great, big, orange tendril flame fingers lapping up the sides of my kitchen walls and pluming up over my ceiling. Smoke.
The entire scene slows down, it’s like my so called homemaker life epically failing in slow motion and I do the most intelligent thing I can think of at the time which is stick my hand into the fire.
And then it’s like the slow motion speeds to fast forward, and I’m all ninja instinct – my eyes flash towards the open door and back to the growing fire and then my hand throws the enormous fireball of a pan of potstickers out that open door and into the lawn.
There’s a poof, a cloud of smoke, and then, miraculously, the flame, extinguished.
This is what my boyfriend sees in a total of maybe five seconds which seems like maybe five hours for me: from his limited view on the couch with the hummus he sees flames bursting from the kitchen. In the time between removing the hummus from his lap to go quite literally rescue his damsel in distress from the burning flames, he sees the yard burst into flames through the window.
At which point we both rush out the door and into the backyard to review the state of destruction.
As I look at two sad, still frozen yet charred little dumplings lying in the grass, he says to me: “Well, you’ve had a good run, but you’re never cooking here again.”
And so, like the real (hungry) woman I am, I make him make me more potstickers.