Side Dishes and Deserts

There are three kinds of cooks:

Those who can walk into a kitchen, open the refrigerator, see only a tomato, a single slice of cheese, pickle relish, and baking powder, and proceed to prepare a four course meal ready to be eaten Mediterranean style. These people expect that one knows what they mean by “Mediterranean Style”.

Then there are those who are so incredibly competant at everything they do, that they become CEOs at the age of 30. “Wine for Dummies” was written for this kind of person. Given a set of instructions and enough time they can make any given dish, no matter how complicated. When complimented, they will say, “Oh, well, once you have the recipe…” and then trail off into a smug silence.

Last, there are those for whom the successful boiling of water is a major accomplishment and worth a seperate entry in their diary.

It is this last category to which I belong. I can admit that now, after years of therapy and having passed the age of 30 without having become a CEO, but I am still envious of that first category of people. I envy their innate knowledge of food and the preparation thereof. More than that, I envy their ability to plan a meal.

Even when I manage, through a super-human effort, to elevate myself to the second categoy (and, at those times, my smug silence can be very loud indeed) I find that, while it is easy enough to follow the recipe, I have no idea what to serve with it, or even how to serve it.

A friend of mine recently had a small dinner party where he prepared and served a nice pasta dish with a green salad and garlic bread. Simple, elegant and not beyond even my meager skills, but, and here is the catch, it never would have occured to me to add in the salad and the bread.

Among the many things I wish I had studied at some point in my life is that of food preparation and presentation. I do not wish to study it now, however, as I have far too much else going on, and, like every other time in my life, I am lucky enough to be surrounded by those who seem happy enough to cook for me, thus allowing me to indulge my willful ignorance and write blog posts about the things that should be mandatory for us all to learn even though I have yet to do so.

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