Can’t Cook Days

Some people have ‘bad hair days.’ I have ‘can’t cook days.’ One year I averaged about five per week. On Can’t Cook Days I think it is ironical that my byline is under the weekly recipe column.
I began cooking after my mother found a job when I was 11. My worst mistake was confusing the baking soda with the baking powder while making cornbread. It browned perfectly and tasted like soap.
My father suffered through my learning process, my husband suffers through my forgetfulness or napping. One afternoon when he came home, I was sleeping and the kitchen was filled with smoke. Fanning my way to the stove, I lifted the lids on crispy, black chicken perfectly complementing the brownish tinge on the white rice.
In tears of embarrassment I started to toss it out, but hubby took over and rescued the meal. Leaving the black stuff in the pans, he salvaged half the meat, added a few seasonings, made a gravy from something and we had a delicious meal from the bits and pieces. The recipe begins, “Burn until the kitchen is filled with smoke.”
Sunday was another one of those days.
We invited a couple of boys from church to come home with us, eat lunch and ride our new go-cart. While the boys took the go-cart for a couple of trial runs, my husband and I finished lunch.
The night before I had put a roast in the slow cooker and before going to church I had started boiling the potatoes, stuck on a tight fitting lid and turned them off to steam themselves to completion.
While I scooped out the juices from the meat to add to a gravy mix, my husband cut up fresh fruit for the lunch and offered to mash the potatoes.
The potatoes were still crunchy. I had turned them off too soon. They were the most undone cooked potatoes I have ever seen. While we discussed what to do about the potatoes, I forgot to whisk the gravy mix into the broth. It formed into little lumps.
I know how to fix that. After all, I had actually received a dollar from “Polly’s Pointers” for my hint, “If your gravy is lumpy put it in the blender to smooth it out.”
Sunday I strained the gravy through the strainer then mashed the lumps on through as well. Looked fine to me, but I’m not fond of gravy.
We stuck the potatoes in the microwave and took the meat out of the slow cooker. When we picked it up, the meat fell apart. Forget sliced roast beef. For lunch we had strings.
The boys came in starving.
I had such wonderful plans for a gracious meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes with gravy, broccoli and fresh fruit.
Instead we served crunchy potatoes with de-lumped gravy, stringy meat and OK broccoli with butter and salt. Somebody said the fresh fruit tasted funny, too. The visiting boys thought ti was part of the entertainment, laughed along with us, ate seconds and rushed outside for the first after-dinner fide on the go-cart.
Now I have to find the recipes for the newspaper. I choose them on the basis of what I have seen or eaten at basket suppers. I know good cooking when I taste it, even if I can’t always make it.