The other day I was at the nail salon and the young lady helping me says, “I love looking at recipes. Cooking relaxes me.” I had to control the eye roll because I hate to cook. Yup. That’s right. And my comment is usually followed by “what kind of an Italian are you that you don’t like to cook?” Pop-Pop would often ask me that question especially because I also hate tomato sauce. I will have you know I am a perfectly good Italian who likes garlic, olive oil and sharp, stinky provolone cheese. And of course, cannolis!
My husband realized when he married me he chose the only Italian woman who can’t and doesn’t cook and I married the only poor Jew. The first time I tried to cook for Husband, back when he was just Boyfriend and I still wanted to impress him, I wanted to make macaroni. What else? Well, who knew you had to wait for the water to boil BEFORE you put the macaroni in? Pop-Pop came into the kitchen yelling and waving his arms, “What are you doing? Move out of the way. Let me fix it.” And so he did, which was a good thing because Boyfriend returned. And now I know to boil the water first. It’s all good.
Baking is my thing. Just like Pop-Pop. Since Pop-Pop was my most important male role model (Ma, did you see I added “male”?) and my favorite person (sorry, Ma) it only stands to reason I would want to be like him. And cannolis are way more fun to eat than liver. Not that anyone ever made liver in my house. More like stuffed peppers.
Nope, I don’t understand why anyone would want to cook. I also don’t understand why anyone wants to jump out of airplanes, skydive, and ride rollercoasters. I wonder if I equate cooking with reckless activities? Cooking can be dangerous once knives and fire are involved.
Then there’s Nan. She walks around with spatulas strapped to her hips. She equates feeding you with love. The more you eat the more you love her. And in reverse, if she cooks your favorite meal for you she loves you. Which is why she always makes eggplant parm for my husband and nothing for me. That’s no joke. She used to make stuffed peppers for my sister’s old boyfriend. He was Italian. I haven’t seen a stuffed pepper since they broke up. Sixteen years ago. I think Nan is still in mourning. Don’t tell my brother-in-law. And no, he’s not Italian, but we don’t hold that against him. Well, I can’t speak for Nan.
Tell me, faithful reader, do you like to cook? Why?