Fear and Loathing in My Kitchen

Big news: This morning…wait for it…wait for it…here it comes…I made pancakes. I don’t cook. At all. I’m proud to call my microwave my closest friend in the whole world. Would you believe when I met my husband ten years ago he didn’t even own a microwave? And would you believe I still went ahead and married the freak anyway? What was I thinking? Of course, I don’t have a lot of room to talk. I’m still on AOL and Blogger. Not exactly technologically advanced over here. But back to my point. I have never had a flair for cooking nor have I had much interest. Since as far back as I can remember, I’ve never gotten excited over a recipe let alone a book of recipes and definitely not a cooking show. I might be the only person I know who has not seen a single episode of Top Chef. Apparently it’s fascinating to people to see chefs marry a bunch of ingredients that don’t seem like they’d normally go together to create a culinary masterpiece – well, fascinating to other people. How about a program that can show me a faster way to microwave a hot dog? What about fewer steps to making mac & cheese from a box? Where’s the show for people like me?

The problem I have is actually two-fold: low interest coupled with lack of time. Before I had twins, I went through a phase where I cooked a lot, and by a lot I mean a couple of times a week. And by week, I mean month. Whatever. When I cooked it always served as a reminder that when it comes to meal preparation, simply put, I suck. Even shopping for a meal is anxiety provoking. I been known to become paralyzed standing in front of refrigerated chicken breasts trying to figure out how many I need, which kind are best and what the hell I’ll do with them when I get them home. You don’t want me anywhere near the spice aisle unless you want to witness a panic attack.

Way, way back in the day that I used to drink I loved making a pasta sauce because I could crack open the wine, pour some in the sauce, have a little myself, add some garlic, have a little more wine, add some more garlic cause really, can you ever have too much garlic, drink a little more wine, add a little more garlic -I may have lost track of how much garlic was in the sauce at that point -and so on. I haven’t made a sauce since. I tell myself it’s because I don’t want to be reminded of my cooking/wine ritual, but let’s be honest, I like take-out.

In my defense, I am truly busy and tired and by the end of the day have already prepared a lot of food for a lot of children.

Exhibit A: Mattie is clearing not missing a lot of meals.

Jon had to work today -which is Sunday-which left me alone with all three monkeys. I was about to prep some breakfast, meaning scrambled eggs for twins along with some microwaved turkey sausage when all of a sudden Elby gets a wild hair up her butt that she wants pancakes. “Pancakes? Are you high? I’ve barely microwaved my coffee yet!” is what I thought. But being the truly amazing, nurturing mother that I am, I said, “Hells yes! Let’s do it!” And that’s when I realized that I don’t know how to make pancakes. Luckily I managed to find a box of all purpose baking mix which I’d apparently bought with the intention of someday making a pancake. It was meant to be!

On my first try, the batter was the consistancy of cream of chicken soup but then I realized that the box called for 2 cups of mix and not one like I’d mistakenly measured in. Once that nastiness was behind me, I managed to make some griddle cakes but not without setting the smoke detector off and splashing a wee bit of piping hot pancake batter on Sadie’s head.

Naturally, after all my slaving away in the kitchen, the babies wanted no part of any pancakes so I ended up making them eggs and sausage after all. But Elby enjoyed hers very much. You’re welcome Elby. I hope that holds you over for at least a year because I see a lot of toast in your future. Love, Mama.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on September 20, 2009 4:43 pmUncategorized36 comments  


  1. divamommy said,

    You could have been describing me… I do not cook well. Or enjoy it. The microwave is my friend!

    | September 20, 2009 @ 9:07 pm

  2. Gilsner said,

    Two words, my friend…. Eggo Pancakes. Assuming you can use the toaster with relative efficiency?

    | September 20, 2009 @ 9:25 pm

  3. Mental Shmental said,

    I love to eat but do not love to cook. Had dinner with some real foodies recently and it took upwards of THREE HOURS for them to make two kinds of homemade pasta, homemade sauce, and grilled scallops. It was an incredible dinner to be sure, but I lost interest in the whole production about four minutes into the process.

    | September 20, 2009 @ 9:36 pm

  4. Aunt Becky said,

    Cooking gives me herpes.

    | September 20, 2009 @ 9:51 pm

  5. TwoWishes said,

    I'm with you on the (not) cooking. There just isn't enough payoff in a world of restaurants, takeout, and prepared foods.

    Also with you on the Top Chef. Why watch them make foods you can't taste? At least on Project Runway I can look at the clothes and have some personal sense of what's good or bad…. I'm boycotting Top Chef until they pass out samples to the audience.

    | September 20, 2009 @ 9:53 pm

  6. Mommy on the Spot said,

    I used to make pancakes from the Hungry Jack Just Add Water Pancake Mix once a week . . . until number 2 came along. Now I agree with Gilsner (except I think they taste better in the microwave rather than the toaster). That and Eggo waffles are delish!

    | September 21, 2009 @ 12:48 am

  7. lonek8 said,

    pancakes are the most boring cooking ever. it's like: oooh, fun pancakes, yay! *pour, flip, scoop, pour*, this is going to be great, these pancakes looks so good, *flip, scoop, pour*, wow, I made a lot of batter, i've made four pancakes already, why is the bowl still full? *pour flip, scoop*, this is really taking a long time, *pour scoop flip* J—s, I am SO OVER PANCAKES!! I don't even want to eat them anymore, why is there STILL SO MUCH BATTER!! AAAAGh *pour, flip, scoop* I feel like I'm going to be standing here flipping pancakes until the end of days, this sucks, and I'm never going to to do this again.*pour flip scoop*

    | September 21, 2009 @ 1:51 am

  8. Anonymous said,

    Why not have your kids cook with you?

    | September 21, 2009 @ 3:19 am

  9. BabyonBored said,

    Dear anonymous, they're one! I'm trying to keep them away from flames and ovens for at least another couple of months.

    | September 21, 2009 @ 3:22 am

  10. Beth said,

    Hilarious! I'm laughing out loud, still. I love the part of how a wee bit of hot batter dropped on Sadie's head… I mean I'm sorry it dropped on Sadie's head (poor baby!) but it's so funny how you wrote it.

    You are not alone in the non-cooking, non-Top Chef dept. In the 10 years I've been with my husband, I probably have cooked a meal for him, um, maybe 10 times? Yeh. I like your idea of a cooking show (how to make mac & chz out of a box quicker) MUCH better! =)

    | September 21, 2009 @ 4:13 am

  11. Janefilms said,

    I failed home-ec and my failings as a mother as told to my son's future therapist begin with 'She did not cook – at all! She could pour a mean bowl of cereal, but she wouldn't let me eat coco puffs only grape nuts and…' Yep, he's going to have lots of good stuff for those overpaid listeners. Little dude is almost 6 months old and I'm terrrrified about starting solids. Can't we just do the milk thing for another year or two?

    And to make this response even longer? Randomly, I LOVE Top Chef. Love love love it. I'm desperately sad that I'm missing this season because I'm busy momming. Isn't what weird? Can't cook her way out of a box, but totally heart that show. Go figure.

    | September 21, 2009 @ 7:16 am

  12. Kristin said,

    OMG I just had this conversation with my husband today. The no interest in cooking conversation, not the pancake conversation.

    I can make pancakes – they come in a bottle that you add water (or is it milk?) to and then shake it furiously and pour into a pan. They're not half bad when I remember to pay attention to them.

    | September 21, 2009 @ 7:43 am

  13. Rosie said,

    Good response to "anonymous" that you don't let your kids help you cook because they're only 1. I just had a flahback that may explain my aversion to cooking. I was about 4, watching my mother cook breakfast (probably pancakes) and my flannel nightgown caught fire from the gas burner. I was OK, but it was certainly a sign of my bad luck in the kitchen. How many slimy raw chicken breasts have been thrown away, spoiled, because I couldn't bare to touch, let alone cook them!

    | September 21, 2009 @ 8:43 am

  14. Anonymous said,

    Love, love, love the pic of Maddie, I just want to eat her up, she is just too cute!
    I was never a "cooker" either but in my attempts to become more domesticated over the last 10 years I've learned how to make enough edible meals to get by. I'd go with the pour and serve pancakes next time if I were you!

    | September 21, 2009 @ 11:39 am

  15. Kelly said,

    Cooking is overrated. I really could eat cereal for every meal, and I know that my oldest would too. Take out is my friend, but my husband tends to turn into a cro-magnum man wanting "meal on table woman."

    So, I let him do it. He wants something different every freaking night of the week, that is up to him. I'll just eat cereal.

    | September 21, 2009 @ 1:51 pm

  16. Piccinigirl said,

    I don't cook…

    you know they make microwavable pancakes, right? My husband adores them and they smell delish, but they come in MINI sizes, just perfect for teeny tiny hands.

    Don't say I didn't tell ya. (wink)

    | September 21, 2009 @ 4:12 pm

  17. Shannon said,

    Wal Mart microwavable pancakes! They are really good. 30 seconds, viola! slap em on a paper plate, butter em syrup em cut em up! Breakfast is done and all you have is a knife and fork. If you want, you can even use plastic of that too, but that is getting a little too cheezy. I, too, hate to cook! Bleh!

    | September 21, 2009 @ 4:43 pm

  18. Anonymous said,

    Re my post about having the kids help you with cooking: cooking is more than just open flames. They can help with the preparation by putting ingredients in a measuring cup, for example. Most kids love to help and this is a good way to make cooking fun. It is messy but the price for messiness is a fun activity.

    | September 21, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  19. Rebecca said,

    I so completely love you. I cook a lot of my meals out of a box but I have this one recipe that my husband hates but I like so I fix it anyway. I don't know if it's really that bad or if I just want it to be good that badly. . .

    | September 21, 2009 @ 6:12 pm

  20. Issas Crazy World said,

    There is a pancake mix that is in a spray can. Looks like a spray cheese can, but it's real Bisquick pancakes in that baby. Add a few chocolate chips on top for kid guaranteed eating.

    | September 21, 2009 @ 8:05 pm

  21. Jennie said,

    I hate to cook too. I have no instinct for mixing ingredients. Luckily my husband likes to do it and we share that chore. I don't get cooking shows either. It's kind of annoying to watch someone cook so effortlessly and then after you spend all that time watching you DON'T GET TO EAT IT. Cruel.

    | September 21, 2009 @ 8:06 pm

  22. Issas Crazy World said,

    Oops, hit publish too fast.

    Wanted to say, I adore Top Chef and basically anything on the Food Network. But we pretty much live on Chipotle and grilled cheese around here.

    Am laughing at anonymous. Seriously, cooking with two babies? Laughing my ass off.

    | September 21, 2009 @ 8:10 pm

  23. Anonymous said,

    I had to come back to say that anon, is crazy. Does s/he actually think anything would actually get done with two one year olds running around 'helping' cook along with the four year old? We'll let him/er cook with their kids because that is obviously either childless human or the perfect parent….lets all laugh at that.

    Just for kicks and grins, I'll go anon too. I love you Stefanie!

    | September 22, 2009 @ 12:23 am

  24. Anonymous said,

    I'm not going to quibble over what a 1 year old can or cannot do in the kitchen but please don't be a bully. It is so unbecoming. I suggest reading about Montessori. It will be a good experience.

    | September 22, 2009 @ 12:47 am

  25. Lolly said,

    It's a big day in our house when I cook something that actually takes effort too.

    | September 22, 2009 @ 12:58 am

  26. Funkidivagirl said,

    I cook, but I don't like it and each year it gets worse. I put on my iCal every Sunday "plan meals for the week", ignore it, and every Monday I enter Whole Foods not knowing what I'm going to for the week's dinners.

    | September 22, 2009 @ 2:14 am

  27. Cat said,

    Congratulations! Pancakes are a fine science, tricky to even accomplished cooks. They're half-baking, half-cooking. Very confusing.

    What a good mama!

    | September 22, 2009 @ 6:58 pm

  28. anita tedaldi said,

    I still remember the first time I made pancakes as an adult (I didn't grow up with them in Italy :)) I was so excited but they tasted terrible.

    I felt very un-mom and un-American so I immediately made my kids some pasta for breakfast 🙂

    Whatever works right?

    | September 22, 2009 @ 7:08 pm

  29. MyHormonesMadeMeDoIt said,

    I LOVE that you made the pancakes anyway, at least Elby was thrilled!

    So often I look at my husband and reming him we are screwed when we have kids, apparently cheese, crackers and wine is not an appropriate dinner for them!

    | September 22, 2009 @ 7:43 pm

  30. Anonymous said,

    Montessori is fine if it's (go ahead and gasp!) combined with other educational theories and techniques. In and of itself Montessori is for the crazies. I worked as an assistant for a year at a Montessori pre-school. It was okay, but a pure Montessori education leaves a lot of gaps.

    | September 22, 2009 @ 8:16 pm

  31. BabyonBored said,

    Anonymous makes me laugh. No one is being a bully here, anon. It's just that it's so unlike me or most of my readers to try and engage one-year-old twins in an organized activity like cooking. First off, it's clearly hard to engage ME in cooking and secondly, I'm currently trying to keep them from biting, I doubt a tray of cookies is coming down the pike anytime soon. But thanks for the suggestion. My older daughter loves baking cookies with me, btw. Although I do tend to hog all the batter.

    | September 23, 2009 @ 12:29 am

  32. Anonymous said,

    I thought your twins were the age of Heather Spohrs late daughter, which is close to 2 years old. Clearly, a one year old cannot cook and the idea I was suggesting was to engage the kids in kitchen play while you cooked. Children who are close to age 2 can have a great time with their moms and dads in the kitchen. That my comment yielded a slap from a respondent is worrisome.

    It is bullying when you tell someone his or her opinion is stupid. I teach psychology doctoral students at an online university and am always amazed at the liberty people feel they can take with their comments in an online environment.

    | September 23, 2009 @ 4:38 pm

  33. Heather said,

    OH I'm glad I'm not the only one. The microwave is SOO my friend!! 🙂

    | September 28, 2009 @ 2:29 am

  34. Chris Mancini said,

    A little tip: Add chocolate chips to the pancakes. No matter how they turn out, the chocolate will act as catnip to your children and they will eat them before they realize anything is… wrong.

    | September 29, 2009 @ 10:31 pm

  35. Anonymous said,

    As a singledad that raised four children alone for fourteen years,

    I want to say

    its the hardest job on the planet.

    to be a dad and have no friends no family. and of course woman avoid you like the plague.

    god bless all the woman that work so hard and have a husband that doesnt get it.


    | October 22, 2009 @ 9:23 pm

  36. Soni said,

    Eggo pancakes ARE amazing. I actually love cooking and top chef but im convinced that the mess just isnt worth all the effort sometimes.

    | October 23, 2009 @ 5:24 am

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