I hate to shock you guys, but .... turns out I can't cook.
I know, you're like, "How is this possible? You come from a family of cooks? Braising is in your genes. In fact, I've had plenty of really good meals that you've made." And it's true, I used to be quite a good cook, and my mom and chef brother cook circles around each other every chance they get. We regularly debate roasting methods and copper-bottomed cookware at family gatherings. So basically, admitting that I can't cook anymore will make me a pariah with the fam. But somewhere along the way, my natural born talent got overpowered by the ease and convenience of Hamburger Helper dinners. What's a girl to do?
Now, before we get confused, I'm talking about cooking ... not following a recipe. I can usually manage to follow a recipe. What I can't do is create a recipe, or improvise on a set of ingredients. No matter how foolproof it seems, it's always destined for failure.
For example, on Sunday, I decided I wanted to recreate this salad that I had at Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, MI.
Basically, I would eat this salad every day for the rest of my life. And it looks pretty simple, right? Well, the whole thing just failed. It was soggy and boring, and a shadow of the salad I was hoping it would be. I was crushed because this wasn't just one failed salad, it was an overwhelming signal that I should just give it up.
Fresh spinach tossed with aged goat cheddar, sautéed roasted pepper, leeks and fennel in a beautiful, nutty brown butter vinaigrette. Add pit-smoked chicken.
It's actually quite liberating giving up these fake expertise of mine. Now I can have people over for dinner, but won't have to stress out planning a menu (not to mention trying to make a damn cream sauce - those are my nemesis!) And really, doesn't everyone secretly love Chicken Nuggets more than cannelloni?
What about you guys? Any fakers out there?