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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Some Thanksgiving Cooking Enlightenment

Although Thanksgiving has a religious significance to a lot of people, it's also a good time to thank those around us, as well as to take time to appreciate the good things about our lives.

Now, usually my wife does the cooking. Not out of tradition or gender roles, but mainly because I can't make much of anything, except for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich - that, and the fact that I hate cooking.

When I was single I lived in an apartment for two years and my friend was helping me move out. As we were leaving he opened my oven to make sure I had cleaned it, so as to avoid a penalty on my deposit. He started laughing when he saw that, not only was the oven spotless, but the instruction manual was still inside. Later I was dealing with the manager to get my deposit back. I had a cat and the carpet was in bad shape so she had considered deducting for that, but she actually mentioned, "But the kitchen appliances were the cleanest I've seen so that counts for something."

After I was married and in a new place, there was also the time I tried to heat up a frozen pizza in the oven. Same pizza, same process my wife had always used - but somehow it transmogrified in the oven and didn't even behave the way that material should. That's what my wife said and she's a physicist, but I digress.

Anyway, this Thanksgiving I decided to make my first pie ever (actually a chocolate cheesecake, though not really a cake). It would be to signify my thankfulness for her cooking and everything else she does. I think I learned something about the appeal of cooking today.

One of the reasons I've never liked cooking is because it seems so inexact. What the heck is a pinch, and just how many smidgens are in a pinch? But you know how the appeal of riding a roller coaster comes from the feeling that you may suffer massive bodily injury - that at any moment you could be flung out, smashed against a support beam, and torn asunder? I think that somehow must relate to the thrill some people get out of cooking. It seems that at any moment, things could spiral out of control and your kitchen and all of your ingredients could be ruined. So there's a rollercoaster/mountain climbing sort of thrill to it I suppose. At least that's the feeling I get from cooking.

But all worked out for the best. After it was over I realized it couldn't have been too bad, even if it was just a big lump of goo. After all, every single ingredient was something that tasted good on its own (sugar, cheesecake, crust, chocolate), so how can you go wrong with that?

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