Confessions of a Bad Cook

When I was a child, the kitchen was always a mysterious place. My mother would tie her “Kiss Me, I’m Irish!” apron on and disappear in there, banging around the pea green and pale yellow cupboards for hours. Eventually she’d emerge, and huge platters of meatloaf, mashed potatoes and green beans would magically appear. I’d only venture in there occasionally, usually to steal a juicy sliver of roasted turkey or snatch a piping hot fried doughnut, fresh out of the oil. I was usually met with my mom’s frowning face. “Get outta here!” she’d scold, waving her wooden spoon at me, and I’d zip back into the living room to do the one thing I was good at: wreaking havoc with my brothers.

Maybe it was because my mom banned me, or maybe it was because I had zero interest in the endless stirring, sifting and rolling of ingredients–I simply never learned how to cook. Eating was my forte. After keeping this shameful secret for so long, I can finally stand up and admit:

I am a bad cook.

It wasn’t until I was living far away from home in a college dorm when I realized just how terrible I was at cooking–cooking anything. If it wasn’t microwavable, I was stumped. My roommate was understandably stunned when I confessed to her I didn’t even know how to make the basics, like hot dogs or Ramen noodles–the staples of any starving college student. After she finished laughing–and this went on for a good 30 minutes or so–she patiently showed me how to do complicated things, like dump a jar of sauce into a pan and stir in the frozen meatballs. “You mean, I just keep stirring, like this?” I’d sheepishly ask her, turning red from embarrassment. I was 17, and my first few cooking lessons were: 1) How to boil water 2) How not to burn the sauce. I barely succeeded.

I continued on with my pathetic cooking skills up until the present. I would love to say that now, over 24 years later, I am a culinary genius; that I put Ina Garten or Julia Child to shame. Well, if all three of us were in a Deviled Egg Contest, I might win. (It helps that one of them is no longer living.) Deviled eggs was the one recipe I perfected over the years. At every holiday or get-together my relatives could count on Darla’s Damn Delicious Deviled Eggs to make an appearance.

My husband would walk into the kitchen. “Ooh! God! Blech! What
smells in here?” he’d ask, his face scrunched up in disgust.

“Deviled eggs!” I’d gush. “I’m making them for the Fourth of July picnic!”

And for Thanksgiving? Why, deviled eggs! Christmas? Eggs! New Year’s? Guess. Oh, there was the one time for Easter when I went out on a limb and made deviled eggs. Apparently, I can handle boiling water on the stovetop. On the other hand, it seems the oven is still a scary place for me. Being a klutz, I have a ridiculously intense phobia I will burn myself. If my husband wants nachos, I have to put on a full-body oven mitt to even come close to that burning inferno of salsa and melted cheese.

Thankfully, there are three things I can do very well, and this has saved my butt in the kitchen on many occasions:

1) I can read. Even better, I can follow a recipe. Hallelujah! And if I can read the steps a few dozen times in preparation, then carefully refer to each step a few more times while I am doing them, I am usually able pull it off. Usually. More often than not, re-reading the steps just push me over the edge quicker. My cooking sessions end up ugly; full of imagined taunts from the real chefs and unbridled swearing from me. For example:

Paula Deen’s Southern Cornbread Stuffing
(why is it that the first time I read her recipe, her voice is all syrupy sweetness in my head, but with each re-reading, her southern twang takes on a more irritated tone?)

In a large bowl, combine crumbled cornbread, dried white bread slices, and saltines; set aside.  Okay, crumbled, she says. I can do crumbled! Umm…like this?

I say-ed CRUMBLED y'all!

Okay, okay, I hear you Paula, jeez, don’t get your panties all in a bunch! You don’t have to smirk at me. I’ll try to crumble. Wait a minute, the bread is lumpy now. (I frantically try to find my husband) Honey, come over here and help me! Do I use a knife to crumble the bread or my hands? For the love of God, what does “crumble” mean? I can’t measure anything that’s crumbled! Why, Paula, why? (This is usually the point where I rip off my apron and toss it into the oven.)

You want crumbled? I'll give you f#@*ing crumbled!

Add the celery and onion and cook until transparent, approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Okay, I’m cooking the celery and onions, but are they transparent? They still look kinda opaque. Is opaque good? No? What the hell does opaque mean anyway? Transparent means clear? What? Good lord, where is that &*%ing dictionary? Calm down, Darla. Deep breaths.  I’ll read the recipe again. Yep, Paula says they have to be transparent. Oh god, why does she insist on these things? Approximately 5 to 10 minutes, y’all. Approximately? Does she mean five minutes or seven? What if she means 10? I’ve cooked them for 11 minutes now and they still aren’t transparent. More like a deep rust color. Is this bad?

I say-ed APPROXIMATELY, sugar! Just pick a goshdarn number, darlin'!

Dammit, Paula, shut up! I’m not your darlin’! I’m just trying to cook some  @#$%ing onions and I’m crying already! (I frantically try to find my husband) Honey? Honey! Can you help me? Honey, where are you?

2) I can measure. I am a very meticulous measurer. Every ingredient has to be exact. There will be no spontaneous or questionable “eh, it kinda, sorta looks like a tablespoon…” or “I don’t have salt so I’ll mix in some Mrs. Dash instead” cooking in my kitchen. I would never dream of dumping sugar into my hand like Rachael Ray, then casually tossing it into the bowl like I’m throwing confetti in a parade. Oh, no. I will pour that sugar into a measuring cup and eyeball it to death. If someone ever invents a new kitchen gadget that resembles a tiny leveling tool, I’d be all over it.

Wow! You really ARE a bad cook, Darla!

Oh, shut up, Rachael. Who invited you? Why don’t you go throw some salt all over the place,  dump some of your precious EVOO all over it, then “pop” some food in the oven and leave me alone to cry in my onions.

3) I can use my secret ingredient: Love. Whenever I make dinner, I never hesitate to inform the innocent victims at the table that my dish was made with it; I heaped it on there like my life depended on it. Without love, I’m afraid my cooking would be even worse, if that were possible (and it isn’t).

Mmm...yes...well, Darla, your soup needs more love. Truckloads of it.

Miraculously, these few cooking abilities have enabled me to pull off a casserole dish or two. I (barely) managed to make a delicious (homemade!) stuffing for Thanksgiving last year (from scratch!) And nobody died after eating it. Did I mention it was homemade? I spent hours cutting bread into mind-numbing cubes with my own two little klutzy, clueless, oven-mitted hands (you try holding a knife with mitts on).  Everybody raved about my stuffing. I think most of us were in shock it was so delicious–the turkey was all but ignored.  The success of my stuffing ranked right up there with completing my college degree. I was so proud and made so much of it, we were eating stuffing with every single meal for an entire week. But dammit, it was tasty. We still talk about it. “Remember that stuffing you made last year?” my husband will ask with a dreamy look in his eyes. “Oh, yeah! It was good, wasn’t it?” I’ll sigh while scraping burnt tomato soup out of yet another ruined pot.

Even though I am a self-confessed bad cook, my husband is not. (God brought us two together for a reason.) He is a phenomenal cook and, even better, he loves to do it. Whenever I tell my friends, “Oh, Jim’s getting dinner ready,” they tell me how lucky I am. I always point out, he’s lucky I don’t cook. It all works out for the best.

So this Thanksgiving, as you’re slaving away in the kitchen, elbow-deep in roasted rosemary turkey with sprigs of thyme and carving cranberries into tiny Mayflowers, think of me.

I’ll be making stinky eggs.

Bon Appétit!

Happy cooking and joyous eating, my friends!
Eat, drink, and be merry with the ones you love!
Be grateful I don’t cook for you! Oh, and–
Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

——————————————————————————

I am taking an extended break from blogging…hopefully I’ll see you all around the New Year (if I survive the holidays)

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110 thoughts on “Confessions of a Bad Cook

  1. Now we have Food Network in the UK I am obsessed by it. Paula is a favourite as I think she’s completely insane (this is backed up in your photo of her in the orange shirt, it’s in the eyes), recently I saw her make a huge lasagne and huge garlic bread then her and her friend got so giddy with excitement they stuffed the huge lasagne inside the huge garlic bread to eat it. (You got Paula’s accent spot on!)

    1. Y’know what’s interesting, Joe, is it took me no time at all to come up with a picture of her with the crazy eyes. There are lots of them out there apparently…

      I haven’t seen the lasagna-inside-giant-loaf-of-bread recipe yet. Did she pour melted butter over the top too?

      1. Okay, that was scary! And I can’t stop laughing. I love the upbeat music–like it’s trying to distract us from realizing that Paula is completely insane.

        My kids watched it with me and my nine year old son said, “Mom, that is a big sandwich.” Yes, son, why yes it is.

  2. Snoring Dog Studio says:

    Hilarious, mm! You’ve come a long way from not knowing how to boil (or as Paula says, burl, water). If you can make amazing deviled eggs, which are a real treat to me, then you’re not lost.

    Have a wonderful break. Hope to see you back soon!

    1. SDS, burlin’ water is my thing. The only thing. My husband and I started getting our Thanksgiving stuff at the grocery store yesterday…he was buying cranberries, the turkey…I put two dozen eggs in the cart with a big stupid grin on my face. We both know where I stand when it comes to cooking.

  3. Hi,
    Couldn’t help but have a laugh. My husband also is a fantastic cook although he doesn’t do a lot of it at home.
    I hope you have a great Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year, enjoy your holidays. 🙂

  4. Did you see the Oprah episode with Paula Deen where something just splattered out of the mix maxter or such making a huge mess. Not in the clip Oprah, incredulous but saving face asked her “Has anything like that every happened before?” And Paula gasps “Noo…ooo” Here’s the clip…it’s so funny. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0zdCAjpjYOM
    Please come back soon with Darla’s Damn Delicious Deviled Eggs recipe and I do hope it’s not the 4th of July! To be continued…

    1. Oh, thank you for that, Georgette! “I’m not your doctor, I’m your cook” Gotta love Paula and her bordering-on-maniacal laugh. (who am I kidding, that laugh was full-on maniacal) I love how Oprah looks like she’s going to need the Heimlich at the end there…

  5. As kids, we were allowed in the kitchen. Even my younger brothers could bake cupcakes and sheetcakes by the time they were 5 years old. I was usually in charge of salads, and this translated, in adulthood, to, well, you know, still being in charge of the salads. And growing a garden full of salad greens and herbs. Why can’t you grow salad dressing, I wonder?

    I’m with you on the Deviled Eggs, though. If you’ve mastered that one thing, everyone else will probably assume you are great at everything and that your family is blessed with your culinary wizardry at home. Like Deviled Meat Balls and Deviled Chili. Deviled Turkey and tiny Deviled Cranberries for Thanks Giving. Deviled Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwiches for the kids lunches. Deviled Cat Food… Even Deviled Angel Food Cake!

    1. Spectra, that is good you all were allowed in the kitchen. I can say that now I can manage to make a killer salad and I’ve been known to bake cupcakes. Because my mom never let me cook, I also make a point to let my kids help me whenever they want. My daughter is constantly wanting to cook now and I need all the help I can get!

      Your Deviled foods list is awesome. Ooh, tiny Deviled cranberries! Great idea.

  6. Beth says:

    I LOVE reading your blog Darla! You might be a sucky cook but you’re an amazing writer! Your writing always makes me wish we were neighbs:)

  7. We need to form a sisterhood of bad-cooking women who married good-cooking men. I was eating the fried potatoes and eggs my husband made me for breakfast as I read your post. To. Die. For. The eggs come out heart-shaped and he makes a hot sauce face on them. Not smiling, no, but kind of a crazy expression. Kind of like Paula, now that I think about it. I’ll miss you on your extended break!

    1. Love is the main ingredient when I cook. It does truly help. My husband loves to cook, but sometimes I will give him a break and manage to get through a meal here and there. I’m not that bad if I can follow a recipe without having a temper tantrum halfway through….

  8. I had to stop reading Paula’s recipes. I’d mess them up and try to remedy them by adding more, and more, and a few more sticks of butter. It took me a few months to figure out why my kid gained 10 pounds and my cholesterol was spiking.

  9. My 22-year-old daughter is your clone. The only thing she can cook is deviled eggs. Where did I go wrong???

    Darla, I’m gonna miss you! Have a great Thanksgiving and Christmas, too.

  10. Hahaha! Gotta love Paula!
    I don’t watch Rachel’s show much, her voice is just annoying to me but besides that she makes good dishes.

    My advice to you: Practice. Practice makes permanent (if not perfect).

  11. Oh my goodness, you remind me of myself in the kitchen! I’m the worst!! Hm deviled eggs you say? Sounds easy enough… Whenever I try to cook something.. I tell everyone, “Cooking is an art, not a science.” (Just in case I messed up on the recipe or substituted things I didn’t have readily available.) And congrats on having an awesome cook as a hubby!

  12. Is this not the fabulous truth??? I’m around women who gush about how capable they are in the kitchen and it “Wasn’t any trouble at all.” It’s a buttload of work, buy, carting it from the car. Hiding it in the fridge and shelves. Chopping, frying, going back to the store because I can’t find it in the fridge. Thanks you, Sister. Tell it.
    P.S. We’re going out for Thanksgiving.

    1. Thank you, Barb! It IS a buttload of work! And yes, the chopping, frying, burning…all the mess…the pots and pans everywhere. It’s just too much hassle for me. I’m not a big fan. I’m a big fan of eating the results though, of course. We should go out for Thanksgiving this year. But my husband’s already bought the turkey–damn! Well, he will be cooking everything so I’m fine with it. 😀

  13. As always you again made me laugh out loud. Although cooking is not our (men’s) forte, you people are too good with this. Still after reading this one, I am very much sure that I am a better cook then you.
    And after reading this one, I am going to write a post in my blog, “Confessions of a Bad blogger!” 🙂 In which, I am going to write how does it feel to be a bad blogger like me. Thanks for being the Inspiration Darla. :)LOL

    1. Well, Arindam, I’m relieved I made you laugh and not cry (still working on the ‘why men don’t cry’ post…)

      And I look forward to reading your “Confessions of a Bad Blogger”. I think I’m well on my way to becoming one now that I’m taking over a month off from blogging.

      1. Oh no. Then I have to wait for a month to get the answer, “Why men do n’t cry?”
        By the way i used this statement of yours in my latest post. In that post, a male tree telling his wife that, “i am going to miss you, but i can’t even cry like you because “men do n’t cry”. 🙂
        By the way you can never be a bad blogger Darla, does not matter how much time you are taking off from blogging. Because, class can never differ and you are a wonderful writer. Happy Holidays. Enjoy your break from blogging. 🙂

  14. Priya says:

    If I ever come to your house, I will secretly hope your husband cooks, brews the coffee. But gosh, I do want to taste your deviled eggs. I like the sound of them and the fact that they showcase your journey from being a clueless cook to a selective one. That’s all right!

    Have fun in the holidays and come back happier, lovelier than you already are!

  15. That’s too funny. Congrats on being able to admit your shortcomings. I can’t claim to be one of those fabulous cooking husbands. My wife does most of it at our house. Unfortunately these days we rarely have time to cook anything too interesting. Maybe someday when the kids are out of the house we’ll be able to dine on foods that don’t come frozen or out of a box!

    1. Ha! Well, if it weren’t for all the frozen foods out there, I’d never cook! I do make dinner about half the time. Once in awhile I’ll make something homemade, but I have never made Thanksgiving dinner in my entire life and have no desire to do it. Too complicated for me.

  16. This was hilarious, Darla! The captions on the pictures were like icing on cakes. Brilliant!
    My expertise is a homemade pound cake – my friends and family ask me bring the pound cake to almost every social function. And yes, I will be making one for Thanksgiving.
    I take your fear of being burned and raise it to my fear of being cut. I have a full-blown fear of knives. I do not like cooking if there is a knife involved. Okay fine – I do not like cooking – period. If a knife is involved, the task of cutting is passed to my husband.
    Our weekly meals are the same… mac n’ cheese (box), spaghetti (jar sauce), peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, pizza and soy nuggets (like chicken nuggets). Yes – that is what we eat for dinner Mon – Fri. Thankfully, Rob takes over the cooking on Saturdays and Sundays. Like you, I married well – my husband cooks! (smile)
    Happy Thanksgiving, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I’ll miss you!

    1. Lenore, you don’t know how much I love your comment. Thank you! Yes! another person out there who doesn’t enjoy cooking!!

      I also have a huge fear of cutting myself (I know, shocker) I will chop veggies from time to time for a salad, but it’s really a huge risk. I have come very close to chopping off a finger or two. Plus, I am a huge klutz so that never helps in the kitchen—too many dangerous things can go wrong.

      The truth of the matter is, I don’t really enjoy cooking. I wish I did. For me, it’s just the means to a (delicious) end. 😉 I’ll do it, but grumble and complain the entire time.

      Our weekly meals are similar. Spaghetti is my favorite meal, it’s so easy (with frozen meatballs of course….) I do make a mean turkey chili too. Too bad chili doesn’t say “happy thanksgiving” like a turkey. ha!

      1. True story: This year I went to my friend’s house for a party. We were roommates for two years. When I asked if I could help in the kitchen she said, “Well, the only thing left to do is cut the veggies and I know you don’t do knives.”
        I had not lived with Michelle for over 10yrs – yet she remembered my fear of knives. We had a great laugh – and no, I did not cut the veggies.

      2. Oh my lord, that is funny, Lenore. “You don’t do knives”. I guess that is something Michelle could never forget, huh? I am surprised I haven’t injured myself more while cooking, I am that bad.

  17. This was fantastic! I think my favorite yet. I love cooking and I’m not bad at it but I, too, get confused by terms like “crumble” and such. WTH, Paula? I laughed so much through this post. The image of you stirring pasta sauce with your roommate in college is hilarious!

    Your blogs will be very missed. I hope I’ll still “see” you out here in blogosphere before New Year’s. If not, happy-happy holidays to you.

    1. P.S. My friend Julie had to teach me how to make Ramen noodles in college. My mom was also a fantastic cook who chased me out of the kitchen with a wooden spoon. I was thrilled when I learned how to make grilled cheese myself.

    2. So your mom did that too, huh? Maybe my mom was trying to protect me from hurting myself (or others)….

      After college, I lived alone for years so I was forced to cook for myself. Usually it was frozen or microwave stuff, but sometimes I’d be daring and make something homemade. I eventually learned all the basics (I make a great grilled cheese, if I do say so myself) I will cook for my kids all the time, and I do let them help me. I’m trying to break that cycle and raise some good cooks.

  18. Oh how you just made me drool… I am hungry now. So hungry. This post made me laugh so hard as I imagined Paula Dean over and over again. Her and Rachael. Sorry about the inability to cook cuz deviled eggs just don’t sound that great for me. I cook pretty well, I am just SO lazy, it is quite incredible. Such a waste.

    I can watch cooking shows all day but to actually get up and make any of it- it just doesn’t happen. Happy Thanksgiving. Enjoy them eggs. 🙂

    1. Deviled eggs are something you can only have a few of…they really fill you up. I can actually manage to cook if I am desperate enough. But I am also very very lazy, so that is a huge reason why I don’t enjoy cooking.

      My husband likes to watch cooking shows, but for me, it’s just proof of my sad cooking skills because it’s all way over my head.

      Happy Thanksgiving to you as well!

  19. Oh boy, can I relate. I suspect that one day, I may be a good cook; I may even like to do it. But that day is not now. I am lucky for a husband who used to work in restaurants.

    As far as Paula Deen, I don’t know that she can really cook. She just adds butter, cream and sugar (and more butter) and swirls things around.

    1. Good, yet another woman who can relate. I don’t feel so bad now, thank you. My poor husband…I’m sure he gets tired of doing all the cooking. But at least, I’ll offer to help clean up after, so there’s that.

      You have pretty much nailed what Paula Deen does–adds lots of tasty fattening things like butter and sugar. I made her Better Than Sex cake once and almost had a heart attack halfway through my first slice (but it was good, I admit)

  20. Oh my gosh! I just wrote about Rachel Ray and Paula Dean. I haven’t even read your post yet…but I just had to comment because I just wrote about my own kitchen fiascos! I’m excited to read yours. So glad I am not the only one. I love Paula Dean, by the way, she’s my fav! I am going to now read about yours…or maybe neither of them are your favs. Hmm, I have never written a comment before reading a blog before. Probably not a good idea. Hope all is well 🙂

    1. Ha, you crack me up! Must be something in the air with Thanksgiving coming up–our bad cooking skills are a hot topic. Loved your post.

      Is it just me or is it irritating when Rachael keeps calling it EVOO? It just grates on my nerves something wicked. And she’s always “popping” something into the oven. Maybe it’s also because my husband loves her…could be a jealousy issue, hehehe.

      I hope you and your family have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  21. Hilarious. Laugh out loud. Loved it. All three phrases describe your post. But that middle phrase, LOL, has been a frequent description of dinners at my own house.

    First of all, where did you find that absolutely perfect second picture of Paula Dean? It’s as if it were made for the very tone of your blog. What a riot.

    And secondly, your lines, “Well, if all three of us were in a Deviled Egg Contest, I might win. (It helps that one of them is no longer living.)” were so funny! You have such a great sense of humor, and you wield that laugh-inducing sword like a champ.

    I mentioned this on Butterfingers’ blog earlier: that I am no whiz kid in the kitchen. I do have some good spells, but mostly dinnertime is fire-in-your-pants crazy at my house. I can’t even blame it on the fact that I am mother to a three- and four-year-old. No, my culinary catastrophes started years before I even met my husband.

    Let’s see. There was the time I made chocolate chip cookies. I was a teenager. Only, we didn’t have chocolate chips. So I used Smarties (do they even still make those?). And I forgot the flour. And I burned them to a crisp. I had lined the baking sheet with tin foil so I wouldn’t have a big mess to clean up… but then once in the oven, the Smarties melted into hard black blobs, and acted like glue to keep the flat, flour-less cookies on the tin foil. My father thought it was so hysterical that he took the sheet of cookies, and hung it with some magnets on the fridge!

    On a college break, while visiting my sister at her college, we almost burned her dorm down by making cookies in a toaster oven.

    One of the first dinners I made my husband after we were married earned itself the endearing nickname, “Dill Surprise.” And I even tried to follow a recipe for that one! Then came “Lemon Surprise” and I had to put my foot down about naming our dinners.

    Last winter, I had a bit of a bad spell with dinners, and one night I thought I finally got it right (I made spaghetti). My children, who are great eaters and will try anything tore into their meals. I felt so proud…. until my son looked up, beaming, and said, “I can’t even hear my stomach burning!”

    Happy Holidays! 🙂

  22. I am glad you noticed just how unbelievably perfect that picture of Paula with the crazy eyes was for my story. There were tons of photos to choose from, which wasn’t surprising. Even without my caption, every time I look at that picture of her I laugh hysterically.

    You have no idea how thrilled I am that you know the shame of being a bad cook. I also try very hard to blame my lack of cooking skills on the fact that I have two young kids, but it never quite works. My kids can cook better than I can.

    Your Smarties cookies story is classic. At least your dad had a sense of humor about it! Many a time my family could have hung my burnt cookies on the fridge with magnets.

    Most of my dinners earn the name “Surprise”. It helps cover my butt. Of course, if my cooking actually turned out well, that would earn a “surprise” name as well.

    “I can’t even hear my stomach burning!” now that is a worthy compliment! I long for the day when my son will tell me the same.

    Happy Holidays to you as well! I really enjoyed your latest post about your sister, one of the most touching things I’ve read.

    1. Thank you, Darla. 🙂 What a nice compliment! You made my day.

      I’ll miss your writing over the holidays — but I hope that one afternoon, I’ll walk out into my yard, and catch a whiff of those Deviled Eggs carried on a breeze down from Maine.

      1. Peg, how do you do it? Picture me, laying on my couch last night, curled up in a blanket, reading your comment on my little iPod while sipping tea. Then, BAM! I’m laughing so hard I’m spewing tea all over my poor unsuspecting daughter.

        And I wouldn’t say my eggs smell like a gas line leak. They smell much, MUCH worse.

  23. Darla, that was a great, funny and timely piece.

    Now, I AM a decent cook, but I’ve had my share of catastrophes. I just learned not to care so much. But then I don’t have another cook in the family so it’s my creation, or Lean Pockets for Thanksgiving.

    Have a wonderful holiday — but don’t forget us here in the cooking-non-cooking blog-o-sphere!

  24. Barbie says:

    LOL! Love this post! And I love your writing! I love to cook, but I kind of suck at writing….so everyone has their thing I guess! Loved the line “I spent hours cutting bread into mind-numbing cubes” I bet that dressing was FAB! Are you making it again this year?

    1. Barbie, my husband just asked me the same thing yesterday! I would really love to tackle it again, but it’s a Giada Laurentis recipe and it’s very involved and complicated…well, for a bad cook like me… I told him we could have it again, but he would have to make it. 😉 It was sooooo delicious! Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!

      1. Barbie says:

        My husband and I LOVE Giada De Laurentiis…can’t figure out how she stays so skinny making all that FAB food! I would LOVE to try your dressing. Can you give me the name of the recipe so I can look it up? You have a wonderful Thanksgiving! Will look forward to reading more of your posts after the holidays! Relax!

      2. I made it! I made it! OMGOSH! Never in my life have I had such a fabulous dressing. It was actually very similar to the one that I usually make EXCEPT and I mean a big EXCEPT she used Pancetta and Chestnuts!!! and that made all the difference! I use regular bacon…Oh and I don’t use parmesan either. I almost left that out as I didn’t want a cheesy flavor to it. It took all day running around town to find those dang chestnuts though! I nearly did leave them out….but the harder they became to find (and I KNEW they had them somewhere in the jar) (so I didn’t have to roast my own) the more determined I became to find them! I finally did at “World Mkt” my husband kept saying all day “no World mkt will want a million dollars for them, lets just try to find them at the grocery store” …… the grocery stores continually took me to “water chestnuts”…..and insisting that chestnuts are in the produce section and I had to roast my own! I KNOW what a chestnut is you nut! LOL I just don’t want to roast my own and YES THEY DO TO have them in a jar….you just don’t carry them I guess. ANYHOW, once we got to world mkt, they had them right inside the FRONT DOOR! Ha! and 1/2 price at that! So I bought two! You were right that was the best dressing that I have ever eaten….I loved it so much that I am going to do a post on it! Thank you so much for turning me on to that!!! Did your hubby make it too?

      3. You crack me up! I used regular bacon too and it was delicious (bacon goes with anything) I can’t believe you found chestnuts. I wouldn’t have had the patience to look for them. I bet they really made it taste heavenly though. I’m happy you liked it. I really thought it was the best stuffing I’ve ever tasted.

        My husband has not made it yet, and he came very close to making it this year, but we were very lazy and opted for boxed stuffing instead. I saw your post about Thanksgiving and it looks like you and your family had a great time. I hope you all enjoy your holidays!

    1. I know!–That video is a hoot. And that sandwich is something my husband would be sure to make. We’ve made spaghetti sandwiches before out of garlic bread and I have to admit it was good (although I could feel my cholesterol rising while eating it…)

  25. I’d never heard of Paula Deen outside of this and one other blog post. And I was initially horrified by the lasagna sandwich idea. But you know, it actually sounds pretty good. I’ve put leftover spaghetti on homemade pizza. You should try making that, Darla. Or ask your husband to try it.

    Great post, as always. Happy Thanksgiving!

  26. wordsfallfrommyeyes says:

    Have a great break 🙂 I’ve only just discovered you! Remind me when you come back in the new year. Loved the photos.

  27. How did I miss this post?! I thought I was all caught up on my favorite bloggers! For shame, gojulesgo!

    This was HILARIOUS. And you know what, if you can make deviled eggs you’re already ahead of some people I know…

    I think the secret to most good cooking is butter. Just ask Paula. Wait, maybe don’t ask Paula. It seems like she has it out for you.

    Tomorrow I am attempting to make a pumpkin cheesecake for the first time (for Thanksgiving). Oh boy!

  28. LOVE this post, Darla!! And I know those turkey cookies will come out beautifully. Just let your daughter do it all! LOL

    Happy thanksgiving, you lucky woman you. My older daughter said the funniest thing to me today. Mommy, if we were celebrating with Grammie & PopPop and Aunt Sue, they’d be cooking and I’d help. But since we’re not, it’s on you.

    Nice.

    1. I will be sure to have my daughter do most of the work. Unlike me, she actually enjoys being in the kitchen.

      How nice of your daughter to say that to you! Ha! Enjoy the snow. We’re going sledding today, hopefully before it all melts…

    1. Thanks, Lynne, it is a necessary break to catch up on everything–and hopefully get more post ideas into that noggin of mine, I am drawing a blank lately. Hopefully the break will recharge things. I hope you enjoy your holidays!

  29. I can relate completely…my mother barely cooked so I never learned…then I blamed it on the small apartment kitchen so I never tried to teach myself. Now that I have a house with a regular kitchen I really need to make more of an effort…especially since Christmas is at my house this year!!

    Enjoy your holidays!!!

    1. That’s the thing, Melissa, I’ve found less handy excuses over the years as to why I can’t cook. I suppose I can now, I just don’t want to. (hehe)

      I hope your cooking effort goes well and with no disasters and/or injuries. Happy holidays to you!

  30. Hilarious, Darla, and kudos to you for being able to provide deviled eggs for every occasion, no matter what, always and forever! I want some! The one thing I can say about making something phenominal like the stuffing incident, it gives us a haunting that we may never be able to repeat the great feat again-at least, that’s how this sort cook works! Now baking, well, just give me some flour, and I’ll give you some LOVE! Enjoy the holidays, survive, and please help me figure out why this post didn’t make it to my email when you return! Yikes! I almost missed out on laughing my arss off!! 🙂

    1. I would be more than happy to mail you some eggs. I’ll make an extra batch for Christmas…hehe And you are right–making that awesome stuffing is a curse in a way. I will never be able to repeat it (and honestly, I have no desire to even try)

      Baking is something I can handle. I can make cheesecake or cookies if the need arises (and it often does!)

      I hope you enjoy your holidays and I have no clue why it didn’t land in your email, I’ve had other readers tell me the same thing. I blame wordpress.

  31. I completely sympathize! When my hubby and I got married, Ramen was about the extent of my culinary expertise. I suggest a breadmaker, it takes all the worries out of dinner rolls and sandwich bread. 🙂

  32. I can appreciate those folks who can’t cook and more importantly have the decency to spare the feelings (aka stomachs) of others by not imposing those lack of skills at holiday gatherings.

    I’m thankfully an excellent cook and my family looks forward to those holiday gatherings and my wonderful creations, unfortunately I was not able to dazzle them with dishes this holiday season-I couldn’t afford to. The Gringe called life stole Thanksgiving from me and will probably steal Christmas as well. I’ve never been in this predicament before, yet I know millions of Americans are so, at least I’ve got plenty of company.

    I know things will get better one day, but in the mean time to all of you bad cooks with pots and pans of over-cooked and under-cooked delights to share with family and friends be thankful and Bon Appetit!!!!

    1. See, this is what I’m doing, a service for others and their stomachs. Holidays are a time to be thankful that you even have food, and if the food happens to taste good, even better. For this I am very thankful as times are hard for almost everyone lately. I hope you and your family enjoy the holidays and being together.

  33. Brilliantly funny post! My daughter is a huge fan of Deviled Eggs, so she would have been happy to sit at your table on Thanksgiving. Granted, she probably would have thrown up afterwards because she always eats too many and then gets sick.

    I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with lots of love and laughs.

    1. Yeah, I have the same problem. I eat too much. They are very filling! (but damn delicious)

      My Thanksgiving was wonderful, very low-key and lots of eggs for everyone. I hope you enjoy the upcoming holidays with your family.

  34. Wow! 100 comments—amazing! Loved this post. Wish I weren’t a good cook. I think that’s why my husband married me, and now forty years later, he still expects me to cook when I really just want to buy something from the freezer at Trader Joe’s and be done with it. Enjoy your holiday break.

  35. Playing catch up and finally got to read this great post. You write so well Darla, and as previous folks have pointed out, the photos you’ve chosen are so *perfect*, they’re almost like Charles’ cartoons. 🙂 I keep going back and laughing. Love the Julia Child ones!

    Can you see me waving? I’m a member of the club, as I too don’t cook and am lucky to live with a man who’s a good cook and who enjoys cooking and has inspired our kids to enjoy cooking, but woe is me, I’m not famous for even one dish although I did learn to make that quinoa salad this year…my word Darla, you’ve inspired me to write a post about my cooking skills.

    1. Rosie, your comments have really made my day. To know I made you laugh makes me feel so good. The Julia Child photos were my favorites–they fit perfectly with my story. I have a new respect for her after watching the Julie & Julia movie recently. What’s strange is I love to watch cooking shows and movies about cooking…I can happily flip through a cooking magazine…but I hate to actually cook.

      And so happy to know you can be added to my club. Our poor husbands! Now quinoa salad sounds tasty–please write about that experience! I wouldn’t even attempt quinoa until I can pronounce it correctly…

  36. I didn’t learn to cook at home, either. Fortunately, a sister-in-law gave me a cookbook as a wedding gift. I still read, measure, EVERYthing. How blessed you are to have a husband who knows his way around the kitchen!

  37. Thanks for such great laughs!! I love this piece. And, I know that one of these days when I get there to Maine, we’re definitely going to have to make Deviled eggs- I love them. My mom actually had us all in the kitchen learning to cook when we were young. But she didn’t bake often. To this day, my oven is regularly used to cook chicken strips. It barely ever sees a muffin or cake.

    Have a great holiday break.

  38. Ah, Darla — I think you and I are one in the same. My mother also would shoo us from the kitchen, so when it came to moving out on my own, I only knew how to make toast and mac & cheese (from a box). It was my dear hubby who taught me how to lay down some serious cuisine. Now I love to cook! Thanks for a wonderful read today. It has given me an idea for a future blog post. Have a wonderful holiday and I look forward to when you write again in the new year. Have a merry Christmas 😀

    1. We have lived parallel lives! I laugh because I made mac and cheese from a box but I would actually have to read the instructions and measure everything EXACT. Now I can at least just toss the butter and milk in there and mix it…so I have improved a little. Not much though. I am glad you now love to cook thanks to your hubby! I will look forward to your future blog post. I will be writing again in about a month…stay tuned. Have a very Merry Christmas.

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