This is a guest post by Molly Cornfield, a senior at UCLA.
I’m a self-proclaimed food snob. I regularly hit up the farmers’ markets, religiously abide by organic labels, and am willing to pay exorbitant amounts for a pesticide-free apple (with my parents’ money, of course). Considering the amount of thought I dedicate to the purchase of my vegetables, my food preparation skills are ironically lousy.
Don’t get me wrong, I try. Nor am I a complete failure; I make really good, vegetable-heavy pasta, and my Westernized stir-fry is unparalleled by my peers.
Yet I somehow manage to severely mess up the most basic dishes. No, not dishes. Simple, one-ingredient, foods.
For example, one day last winter, I had a hankering for some hard boiled eggs, a food so easy to prepare, even a frat boy could do it at the peak of his blood alcohol content. Since I have a particular aversion to runny eggs, I’ve established a habit of leaving my eggs on the stove for a little extra time. In this instance, I made the ever-intelligent decision to multi-task by taking a shower with the stove on.
Needless to say, my eggs met an unfortunate ending. Though the final product was indeed hardboiled, it was also fried, shell and all.
Today, my attempt at steamed broccoli had an outcome reminiscent to my great disaster of the hard-boiled eggs. After a mere few minutes of steaming a handful of the vegetable, I breathed in a whiff of some foul scent emanating from my kitchen. After frantically rushing toward the stove with an abundance of explicit exclamations spewing from my mouth, I found that my healthy afternoon snack had become nothing more than a mess of smelly steam and mushy, black broccoli.
Although I certainly should feel some sense of shame for my complete incompetence in the kitchen, I can’t help but laugh at my own outlandish mishaps.
Like all things in life, the essential life skill of food preparation is a process of trial and error. Sometimes I’m absent-minded, and I’m highly prone to mistakes, but as long as it doesn’t end with me burning down an apartment complex, I think my idiocy in the kitchen will yield improvement in the future.
Over time, my dexterity with stove-top foods has improved. Much of my college experience has abided by this general structure, and to a large degree, I’ve learned from my mistakes. Along with my cooking skills, I’ve brushed up on my time-management, study habits and self-knowledge over the past four years. As a common English idiom tells us, “there’s no use crying over spilled milk [or burned eggs].” My life in college, perfectly-good-food-gone-to-waste included, has proved the perfect environment to learn from my mistakes, and advance productively forward.