In the weeks leading up to Christmas I told my children I was making cheese steak egg rolls & other picky foods for Christmas dinner. They loved the idea. They were especially excited for the cheese steak egg rolls, and they talked about it every time we saw each other in the weeks leading up to the day.
My plan had been to make home made gluten free (GF) wrappers and fill them with my famous cheese steak filling (made famous only because I use way too much cheese, which is delicious but really bad, and some might say, a little nauseating). The only difficult part was the gluten free wrappers which, every site I went to said “easy as pie”. Overlooking the fact that I can’t bake a pie I decided I didn’t need a dry run; it would all come together in the 4 hours on Christmas day that my sons were with their dad. This delusion was bolstered by the fact that my daughter in love (DIL) announced she was staying with me and would help cook.
Do I need to say it was a disaster?? Here are a few things you should know about me –
I am not a cook. Any chance I might have had at becoming a cook was destroyed the minute I started cooking for children (1990 to be exact). If you cook for children you might understand why doing it could sap the enthusiasm out of Julia Childs. I stopped trying to cook when my then 16 year old announced, as he sat down to my beautifully prepared pork roast with home made mashed potatoes, “I’m not eating this shit. What is wrong with you?”. As I watched him prepare himself a smoothie with protein powder I asked myself the same question – What was wrong with me? How many failed meals would it take for me to accept that I am not a cook? If you have doubts regarding the veracity of this claim, I offer the frozen pot stickers I just prepared in accordance with the directions on the box.*
I am gluten free (GF). If you know anyone who is gluten free, I mean seriously GF, not the occasional “I’ll have the burger without the bun” GF, then you know – we are a pain in the ass. Being GF, while easier now than 15 years ago when I started, simply sucks. There is no real substitute for good ole American wheat, and good ole American wheat is in everything. Including egg rolls. And soy sauce, just an fyi.
For 13 years I put my children 1st. So, for example, had I decided to prepare cheese steak egg rolls 3 years ago, I would have gone to the store and purchased gluten laden wrappers that would have been delicious and manageable. My kids would have devoured them, and loved them because fried meat and cheese, wrapped in a flaky wheat crust and deep fried -well what’s not delicious about that, right? A few years ago, around about the time I started this blog actually, I acknowledged the fact that I don’t like to cook but I do enjoy eating and do, in fact, get hungry. Since that time my kids have learned to eat GF food……or go elsewhere. Mostly they go elsewhere.
I don’t care about much. When I made the proclamation that I would be preparing these yummy bites of tasty fried meat dough, I planed to practice. In other words, I knew full well that the chances of me succeeding in this cooking endeavor the 1st time out was slim to none, weighing more heavily on the none side. I knew there was only 1 chance of me pulling this off, and it involved practice. Perhaps if I liked to cook I would have practiced, but probably not, because in the end – I don’t really care. I don’t care if my table is properly set, or my meals are balanced, or people are coming to the dinner table in their Sunday finest. In fact, I can’t imagine possibly caring less. Life is hard people – why make it harder by forcing people to dress up and set a fancy table for a meal they will probably consider shit???
Yes, it is wildly clear that I was destined to fail, and yet, I was surprised when I did. Fortunately my daughter in love (DIL) was there. Initially, I really wanted to hurt her. What part of “stand at the pot of boiling oil and turn the egg rolls on a regular basis” sounds like “sit at the table and look up pictures of baby pigs”? They don’t sound at all alike, do they?
Anyway, her lack of attention to the frying part of the project was the least of my issues. In fact, it might be fair to say that had she done what I asked her to do we might still be standing in the kitchen trying to fry GF cheese steak egg rolls. She knew, probably before I’d dropped the 1st one into the pot of boiling oil, that I was chasing a dream. She said, quietly, and quite sweetly, “I don’t know, aren’t they supposed to be like brownish, like a goldenish brown, but like …. light and crispy?”, to which I had admonished her and advised her that certainly they would become that if she continued turning them instead of looking at pictures on the internet.
Fortunately, there is one thing my DIL is really, really good at – ordering Chinese food on Christmas. My DIL is Jewish and never celebrated Christmas. This has made her the Merriest of all of us on Christmas. She loves every present she gets, even the really bad ones. She can’t wait to watch movies and bake cookies and wrap presents and everything Christmas, and she is 100% in- as long as she doesn’t have to go to the movies and eat Chinese food. I guess it was serendipitous that the only way to salvage the day was not, in fact, repeatedly turning the egg rolls, but was actually calling in an order for Chinese food. She did great, and our Christmas was saved.
Later in the evening I posted a pic on Facebook. It was my children sitting around an unset dining table, cartoons of Chinese take out scattered around, emptied packets of duck sauce and a few fortune cookies – yet radiant, laughing faces. My caption was
When you over estimate your culinary abilities…….. thank God for take-out!!
Merry Christmas y’all
Today one of my coworkers told me how much she’d loved my post. We got to laughing about all the things we mean to do but never actually get around to, and she said “you should write about that. I’d read that every day”. It dawned on me that she is right. Sure, it helps to know that I’ve been through things you might relate to. Cancer survivor? I can relate. Way too long with a narcissist? Call me! Business owner, mother, step mother, home renovator, yoga novice….. I know a thing or two, and I can share a thing or two. But really, what we all want to talk about is how hard it all is, right? We want to know that we’re not the only one who plans to clean the bathrooms but ends up watching re-runs of Black Mirror on Netflix. I want to admit that instead of finishing the awesome book my son got me (The Hot Zone – really good; might finish it someday) I spent 3 hours flipping through back issues of People Magazine. (If you read it, then forget it, did it really happen? Like if a tree falls in the woods sort of thing?)
Anyway, I’m in. Today, I will reverse the recent changes I made to this blog and go back to admitting that I am a middle aged cliche, stuck in the mud and muck of her own choices and failures, and making new bad choices, and occasional good ones, as I go along. That is much more fun, right? And, those of you out there who feel like you are walking disasters, maybe you’ll feel a little better after reading about another one of my epic fails. & trust me – when I fail, I do it right!
My 2019 goal is to publish a weekly blog titled: What I Meant to Do……
I’m kind of excited to see where this goes!
So, signing off for today, I remain truely yours,
Happy New Year!
*I had planned to add pics of the pot stickers I ruined today to prove that I am a terrible cook. Unfortunately, all my pictures are on my cell phone which has been MIA since 8:30 this morning.