Okay everyone, this is my letter of confession and submission.
I am a bad cook. I’ve said it before, but I just need you to hear it from me: officially.
I. am. a. bad. cook.
I always carry this hope, deep down inside, that I will wake up one morning and suddenly know how many teaspoons of whatever goes into broth mixtures and how to even cook chicken properly without giving my family salmonella. But it hasn’t happened.
Last week, Prince Charming was gone deer hunting. And I can’t cook. I haven’t cooked in so long that I had literal anxiety attacks trying to figure out what to do. I also have an intolerance to dairy products and we only keep one kind of cereal in the house, since only one kid eats it. So I couldn’t even fall back on cereal!
Two nights, I didn’t even eat! I just stayed hungry to prevent me from trying to either purchase/have food delivered or cook. 8 and 12 came over, briefly, on Wednesday and as 8 realizes that Dad isn’t home, he stops walking. Looks at me, concern is overwhelming his face and says “WHO IS GOING TO COOK?!” 12 laughs, then tries to defend me. and then says “no really, who will?”
Chef Ramsay would hate me. Or love me, because he could critique the way I even turn the oven on, I bet.
So by Saturday, I think I’ve made it through the week. Then I realize that Sunday is coming. We have a potluck at church… and I HAVE to cook something. All of the pre-made items are already claimed on the sign up sheet. WHAT. DO. I. DO?
and then it hit me.
Two Sundays ago, Prince Charming’s family celebrated Thanksgiving a little bit early. He entrusted me to cook. Not only did he believe that I could open a can of corn and butter it before we served it, but he thought I could prepare Candied Yams and Cranberry Relish. Two items I’ve never even seen before, nor have I tasted, nor did I want to.
He gave me step-by-step instructions, put the ingredients inside of the bowls that he wanted them served in, and left. He walked out. WITH THE OVEN ON. He left me there to die. He left me to zest oranges and chop cranberries and put MARSHMALLOWS ON YAMS? WHAT? These things are so foreign to me, I almost cried. I am the equivalent of our 8 year old when I am incapable of fulfilling tasks.
Eventually, I made these items. I did them well. I served the heck out of them. Everyone ate them and there were hardly any leftovers.
So when I was faced with this week’s potluck, the only thing I could think to make was this cranberry relish.
It’s beautiful, right? Simple to make, very few ingredients. This is the recipe:
1 can of cranberry sauce
1 can of mandarin oranges
*a few* teaspoons of sugar
Dump cranberry sauce into serving bowl
Drain mandarin orange juice and put in mixer/blender/whatever you use that has a sharp blade on it
*ZEST* orange. For you non-fancy folk like me, this means peel the orange. Almost the entire orange peel is necessary. I don’t have fingernails because I’m an anxious mess and I bite them constantly, so I had to use a potato peeler. Put the zest in the mixer with the mandarin oranges.
Mix/blend until there are small, even chunks.
Add *a few* teaspoons of sugar
Add orange mix to cranberry sauce and mix together until beautiful.
well. this is what I got.
I went to the extent of texting this precious picture of cranberry relish to my husband at deer camp and his reply was “meh, it’s an acquired taste.” meh. you tried. glad I don’t have to eat it.
So, it’s 10pm and I have no time to prepare something new for the meal. So the church folk need to have mercy on me at the meal when I serve them this dish.
I drop it off at the table, trying to hide it and making a sneaky joke like “oh yeah, it’s ugly but wait til you taste it!” no seriously. wait to taste it.
but then. something miraculous happens.
The “Church Mom” messages me and says “Step Momma. This cranberry dish is SO GOOD! WE BROUGHT IT HOME. AND I’LL CLEAN THE DISH AND RETURN IT TO YOU!”
The heavens opened!
The ground began to shake!
Peace on earth!
Good tidings to men!
I made something edible!
I actually wrote this before Mind the Gap was written, but it fits so perfectly…