This is the sixth installment of "Eat This List" - a regularly recurring list of things chefs, farmers, writers and other food experts think you ought to know about.
I'm a good cook. I'd go so far as to say I'm a damn good cook - not fussy or haute, but you could tell me that a James Beard-nominated chef was coming over to eat and I wouldn't panic. (They have, and I didn't.)
I also write about food for a living, which leads a lot of of people to infer that I've mastered a lot more in the kitchen than I actually have. I'm adventurous and fearless, but I still have a lot to learn. So, in the spirit of honesty (and letting the rest of you feel like Alton Brown in comparison), here's a handful of common cooking tasks on which I'd grade myself a C-minus or worse.
Perhaps the rest of humanity poaches weekday eggs as easily as I stand at the counter eating cold cereal. In my world, poached eggs signal a fancy weekend breakfast for two or more hungry humans, and I doubt they'd all care to divvy up the single one that doesn't look as if it came from behind a hatch on the "Alien" ship. For now, I'll stick with scrambling.
2. Deboning poultry
In reality, I end up with orphan flecks of pink flesh on the bone, the knife and wherever else it happened to land, and if there is one thing I hate more than feeling clumsy, it's wasting food. This one could likely be mastered with an abundance of practice, but first, I'll need to break the news to my husband that we'll be having chicken for dinner every night until the end of the fiscal quarter.
3. Making pancakes
4. Keeping herbs fresh
5. Decorating cakes
Perhaps this issue would best be addressed with my therapist, but I feel really strange about devoting a great deal of time to the appearance of an item that's just going to end up in my stomach. Or maybe I'm just trying to find an excuse for the fact that my cakes tend to look as if they were frosted by a five year old who's wildly overshot her naptime.
6. Rolling pie crusts
Perhaps my dear, departed Grandma Kinsman is taking me to task for not having spent enough time learning the craft at her side. I'd regret that even if my pie crusts looked like Martha herself had borne them from pin to plate. For her, (Grandma, not Martha), I'll keep on rolling until I get it right.
What's the kitchen task you haven't mastered and want to admit to aloud? Or, tell me what I'm doing wrong with any of my half-dozen blunders. Either way, I'd love for you to weigh in below.
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