The Kitchen Catastrophe

Almost three years ago I pretty much moved out on my own. I haven’t moved back in with my parents since that date and I feel some sense of accomplishment over this. Most of my friends moved back in with their parents and waited for their MR and MRS status to change. I was a year at my first place with a roommate, then a place all my own for a year and a half, and now an urban dwelling for about half a year. In that time I have collected and decorated and organized a great deal. I look pretty on top of it, building from the ground up like I did.

Yet, we all remember three years ago when I was getting used to cooking for myself in a tiny, ill-equipped kitchen.

For starters, when I moved in I had no furniture at all. I had a sleeping bag, my computer, my cell phone, a car, and clothing. I didn’t even have silverware. You may even remember that my first few nights in that apartment were spent on the floor searching for jobs online while eating bowtie pasta made in my one skillet using my one fork.

However, even when my place was ill-equipped I still never had a fiasco quite like the fiasco I witnessed last night.

JJ has decided that he would like to learn how to cook. He has a definition of cooking much like M Bassoon’s definition which is to say “I can use the stove and I don’t go hungry.” M’s poison was pasta, JJ’s is quinoa. I started by choosing a couple of simple recipes and handing them over to JJ to choose from. He went with the caramelized garlic & sage chicken complete with roasted potatoes.

Now I feel that the shopping list I sent was quite detailed. I offered to take half the list. I also offered to go with him, but he felt that I just didn’t know enough about organic stuff and said he could do it himself. So he went by himself and everyone within twenty miles of a twenty-something boy can guess what came back in those grocery bags.

The list said skin-on chicken but I was handed skinless, boneless with a quizzical look. “Do they even make chicken with skin on it?” he asked me as though chicken is just created in a tin somewhere. “I can’t even begin to guess what that means.”

Sage leaves were needed and I was handed a little shaker with sage dust. The red potatoes were so young as to still be green and when I asked for the brown sugar I was handed a bag of unrefined white sugar.

“What! It’s brown!” he exclaimed, shrugging his shoulders.
“It’s slightly tan, babe, that’s not the same thing as brown sugar.”
“Well you weren’t very specific.”

To top off this inital moment of shock, I discovered that he only has one knife.

This guy has a television the size of a bathtub, a two-screened gaming computer, full service table settings for eight, and a couple of types of plants but has only one, 2″ long paring knife. We had to quarter the potatoes with butter knives and I am here to tell you that you’ve never had a tedious task until someone has set you on quartering potatoes with butter knives.

He also has this weird tendency to want to wrap everything in foil, drown it in olive oil, and cook it to within an inch of its life. It’s as though he’s learned all his cooking from the Boy Scouts. I’m sure he was a Scout. Still, while on the one hand I know there is room for improvement, I can’t help but feel that I’ve gotten myself into more of a thicket than I initially realised.

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