I Tried To Cook…

March 8, 2013 in Finish-The-Sentence Friday

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Store Raw Food Safety Sign (Photo credits: www.mysafetysign.com)

I tried to cook…a romantic home-cooked dinner for my boyfriend (now husband) once a long, long time ago.  We had been dating a few months, but had been maintaining a long-distance relationship. He flew into New York City from Michigan to spend his birthday weekend with me. At the time, I was living at home with my parents in a three-bedroom apartment – definitely not the most romantic setting. So, my two friends from college who lived about a mile south, offered to let me use their apartment to cook him dinner.

Perfect plan. Except for one problem.

I didn’t know how to cook.

At all.

My friend gave me what she called, “the world’s easiest recipe” and told me to make that.

“How do you turn on the oven?” I asked her.

She thought I was kidding.

After a quick tutorial around her kitchen, she went over the recipe with me one more time and left me to prepare.

The recipe had two steps: Pour Green Goddess salad dressing over the chicken. Bake at 350 degrees.

I can’t recall if I made rice to go with it, but focusing on not burning the chicken was enough of a challenge for me.

For dessert, I made a giant chocolate chip cookie from pre-bought cookie dough. I bought cake icing and wrote “Happy Birthday’ on it.

I was proud by my effort and excited to surprise my boyfriend with this “meal.”

I picked him up from the airport and brought him straight to my friends’ apartment.

This was only his second time in New York and he was psyched to be spending his birthday in the Big Apple.

He figured I made dinner reservations at some fancy restaurant we couldn’t afford.

When he realized I had made the attempt to cook for him, he was touched and hid his utter disappointment at the time, since we were in that new relationship phase.

The chicken was undercooked and barely edible.

So, we went straight to the giant cookie, which was too hard (i.e., burned) for me to stick a candle into.

English: A single chocolate chip cookie, of a ...

The cookie was more burned than this (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Years later, my husband admitted to me that that was the worst meal he has eaten.


I’ve come a long way since then, though.

I burn dinner only once in a while now, although I regularly char the bottoms of the slice and bake cookies.

Have you guessed by now that cooking is so not my thing?

Unfortunately, with three ravenous boys to feed, I can’t avoid the task the way I’d like to. As long as I keep the Green Goddess salad dressing away from the chicken, I’d say everyone is safe from food poisoning.

And at least McDonalds is only a mile away.

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{ 44 comments… read them below or add one }

Janine Huldie March 8, 2013 at 8:16 am

I still love McDonalds and would work for me in a pinch, too!! Seriously thanks for linking up and you already know my kitchen disasters now, lol :) :)


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm

I grew up going to McDonalds after my mother messed up a meal so I guess I’m following in her footsteps.:)


Kenya G. Johnson March 8, 2013 at 8:48 am

Girl I really laughed at “ever”. It has been 16 or so years since my cooking disaster for my boyfriend and even though I have redeemed myself he won’t let me live it down. I don’t know why I didn’t learn to do some things from my mom. I guess I wasn’t interested.


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm

My husband won’t let me live down that first cooking failure, as well as the numerous others that have followed over the years. I don’t know why I keep trying!


Considerer March 8, 2013 at 9:09 am

Ow! That sounds like a painful experience. I remember the first time I tried to cook for my boyfriend (now Husby) it all went horribly wrong. I tried making lasagne, which tasted fine but was watery and fell apart in totally the wrong places. He ate most of it, but did walk the fine line of telling me it wasn’t that great.


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 12:47 pm

Yes, it’a always a “fine line” as you say. If the recipient of the cooking gone bad is not at least appreciative of the effort, he or she may end up being the primary cook!


Karen D. Austin March 8, 2013 at 9:24 am

Oh. My. My mother was raised as the only girl on a farm, and then she got a college degree in Home Ec and taught that in the public schools for a while. So I grew up cooking. It was very interesting to walk in the shoes of a non-cook by reading your post. But even with that background, I’ve had a few disasters. I was trying to impress a young man (med student, handsome, smart, witty) by cooking waffles for him while visiting in San Francisco. I was staying with mutual friends and used peanut oil instead of vegetable oil. Oh, they were horrid. I cried. Hooray for modern conveniences of packaged food and carry out. These shortcuts have saved my hide numerous times. Karen (of #GenFab)


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I agree – I would not survive without the conveniences of pre-made food and carry-out. My mom feels guilty for not being more of a cooking model for me, but I suppose it’s not for everyone. Thanks for reading and commenting!


grownandflown March 8, 2013 at 9:39 am

What is it about chicken and worst first meals that go hand in hand? I tried to make coq an vin, again for a boyfriend, and yes, at my parents house. It was purple and inedible and not at all romantic.


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Purple chicken?! Now THAT’s impressive! :)


Stephanie @ Mommy, for real. March 8, 2013 at 9:44 am

Oh, that is such a sad and funny story! I think it is so awesome that you had to ask how to turn on the oven. (Hey, I still need to ask how to turn on the grill, so…) What a fun memory for the two of you!


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

Oh yes, the grill is another issue for me…can’t turn that on either!


Cyndi March 8, 2013 at 10:51 am

LOL…your cooking stories always crack me up. And yes, I still think you’re tacobliss. 😀


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 12:42 pm

Awesome! Just don’t ask me to cook any tacos. :)


Kerri March 8, 2013 at 3:07 pm

Ha! I am glad I am not the only one who almost poisoned a boyfriend and got him to marry me anyway!


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 6:06 pm

I call it the true test of love! :)


Chris at Hye Thyme Cafe March 8, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Awww, at least it made for a memorable birthday. :)

As for your cookie issues, have you tried baking them on parchment paper? I love baking on parchment for the easy clean up, but it might help avoid your scorched bottoms.


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 6:04 pm

No, I’ve never tried parchment paper…I’ll definitely give it a go next time! Thanks for the tip….I need all the help I can get.


Audrey Howitt March 8, 2013 at 3:39 pm

I think I made my husband some god-awful concoction the first time he came over for dinner–he’s still around but I don’t make that stuff anymore!


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Sounds like you’ve improved your cooking skills, whereas I still need a lot of help…


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 6:05 pm

Sounds like your cooking skills have improved, whereas mine, well, let’s just say there’s plenty of room for improvement.


Dana March 8, 2013 at 4:05 pm

Your post actually made me feel better – not about my cooking skills, but knowing that my 14 year old daughter already knows much more about cooking than you (or I) did at her age. But she also knows how to call for carryout!


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Oh yes, calling for carryout is a key skill too!


clark March 8, 2013 at 5:56 pm

( I think I recently told this story in a Comment, but it is the most apropos).
Short version: similar ‘first prepared meal’ for a new couple, recipe called for a pint of sour cream, no sour cream and no possibility of getting some in time.
Solution: mayonnaise! it’s white (ish)… it’s creamy and it’s kept in the refrigerator just like sour cream!
How bad can that be?
The ‘funny-weird-charming-awww’ part of the story is that the non-mayonaise-subsituting participant eat the meal and proclaimed it to be wonderful.


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 6:02 pm

Ha – that’s funny! Maybe I’ll try mayonnaise next time…The condiment that never lets you down!


WilyGUy March 8, 2013 at 7:11 pm

Ah, McDonalds. Or as we refer to it… “Mestopheles”

Under-cooked Chicken is definitely the dangerous way to go. I once made chicken on the grill and I hate when the bbq sauce burns and gets charred, so I pulled it early and it was not cooked enough! Microwave to the rescue which is quite nasty. I learned to cook the chicken slowly on the grill on lower heat and apply the bbq toward the end.



Lisa Newlin March 8, 2013 at 8:32 pm

Personally, I think you did this up right, and I would recommend any woman follow this strategy. You set the bar low…basically there wasn’t a bar, but if it was, it was either laying on the ground, or buried under the surface.

So now, even if you make something sub-par, you can always point out that you’ve come along way, and at least it isn’t as bad as it used to be. Brilliant!


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 9:51 pm

You know, you’re right and I never realized I was that brilliant.:)


Kristi March 8, 2013 at 8:41 pm

What an awesome story. My favorite part is, of course, that your friend thought you were kidding when you asked how to turn on the oven. Awesome stuff, dude. Awesome. I’m not much of a cook either. I think it takes a certain gene that some people are just plain old missing.
McD’s is only a mile away from us, too, and has saved Tucker from eating the same thing every day more than once. Hail to the clown with the crappy food!


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 9:50 pm

Yup, I’m definitely missing that cooking gene!


Dawn March 8, 2013 at 9:38 pm

Thanks for linking up with #FTSF this week! I love premade cookie dough, but I only like to eat it raw. So far, no burnt cookies and no salmonella (from that any how).


ohboymom March 8, 2013 at 9:48 pm

I love raw cookie dough too — much easier to prepare. :)


Michele March 8, 2013 at 11:27 pm

Haha, this is great! It makes me so thankful I had years of cooking experience under my belt before I met my boyfriend. Although, that’s not to say I haven’t had my little accidents.


ohboymom March 11, 2013 at 10:35 am

Yeah, those accidents are hard to avoid in my opinion, no matter how skilled a cook you might be!


Melanie Chisnall March 10, 2013 at 4:11 am

Lol! what a great story :) Makes me remember the time my then boyfriend now husband, baked me a cake for our 7 month anniversary. Back then, we celebrated every month’s anniversary until we were together for a year. It was a lot of fun. Strangely, I feel like chocolate chip cookies now!


ohboymom March 11, 2013 at 10:34 am

Ha – that’s sweet about him baking for you. I highly recommend the giant cookie, as long as you don’t burn it like I did! :)


christine March 11, 2013 at 9:27 am

For several years my husband was wary every single time I put chicken on the table. It was always a toss-up whether it would be cooked all the way through or not.
Kudos to your husband for being such a good sport.
You have now inspired me to have a little test to make sure my kids know how to turn an oven on.


ohboymom March 11, 2013 at 10:37 am

Yes, I’d agree that teaching your kids some basic cooking skills is a good thing, though I’d wait until they are teenagers if they aren’t already. One of my kids once decided to fry eggs on the stove when we weren’t home and he was about 11…


Erin March 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm

Ha that’s great!!!! I can never get cookies right. No matter what they are either burnt or undercooked!!! But it’s the thought that counts!!!!!


ohboymom March 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I agree – I still think I deserved an “A” for effort!


Michelle March 12, 2013 at 1:51 am

We all have some cooking accidents, and some are enough to give up being in the kitchen! Glad that the cookies were great though! Thanks for sharing, Emily!


ohboymom March 12, 2013 at 4:59 pm

I wish I could give up being in the kitchen, but I guess that will have to wait until my boys are all in college. :)


Julie DeNeen March 12, 2013 at 4:19 pm

Chicken was an ambitious first meal….even if it was only baking it in salad dressing! LOL


Abigail March 13, 2013 at 2:54 am

Love this story.

Actually one of my favorite easy recipes is cooking chicken breasts in Italian salad dressing. I just chop up the breasts, throw them in a pan, cover with dressing and cook until they’re not pink. Hard to mess up! Although I suppose your friend probably thought the same about her recipe, hehe.


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