Today, as I sit here typing this, I am incredibly proud of myself and it’s for the silliest of reasons. Still, pride is pride.
It’s been a running joke in my family that “Lisa Can Not Cook.” And, to be honest, most of the jokes started with me. All of my life, I’ve been convinced that I am incapable of cooking. My mom was a great cook. My three sisters are all great cooks. My aunts are all great cooks. But me, I couldn’t cook. Put me in a kitchen and you’re going to have a fire. If the recipe says a table spoon of salt, then you know that means Lisa Marie is going to dump an entire cannister into it.
As one of my older cousins once told me, “It’s a lucky thing you’re pretty, Lisa, because nobody’s going to marry you for the food.”
(Strangely enough, hearing that said didn’t make me feel particularly pretty or lucky.)
But last night, I wanted to cook for my friend Jeff because 1) he was out of town for the holidays and I missed him a lot, 2) every time we’ve ever gone out, he’s paid for me and I suspect like he’d probably be a millionaire by now if not for me, and 3) when I told him about what happened on Monday, he was there for me without a second of hesitation, complaint, or doubt. Because of his job and the fact that we’re always going out to eat, he doesn’t get many home-cooked meals. So, I wanted him to have one and I wanted to make it for him myself.
But I can’t cook, right?
Turns out, apparently, I can. Now, I’m not saying that I’m ready to be on TV competing for my own restaurant or anything like that and I did have to get my sister Erin to help me out a little bit so I can’t really say that I deserve that much credit for it but still, dinner last night turned out to be pretty good.
Or, at the very least, edible. And edible is a lot more than I thought I was capable of doing.
As for what Erin and I made, it was Chicken Risotto using one of my mom’s old recipes and I know that Chicken Risotto really isn’t a big deal or anything (because on Hell’s Kitchen, they’re always saying, “Who can’t make a risotto!?”) but I was still so incredibly proud when I saw it being successfully moved from the stove to the counter to eventually the kitchen table.
I guess you could say that chicken risotto was my mom’s signature dish. It was what everyone always asked her to make if the family was getting together. And, I’ll be honest — I’m not a gourmet. I’m not a “foodie” or whatever you call them. I don’t know if everyone in the world can make a chicken risotto. For all I know, it could be the simplest dish to prepare ever. I know my mom always acted like it wasn’t a big deal to make but I always loved it and so did everyone else. And, even more importantly, I could tell that she always took a lot of pleasure and personal pride out of seeing how much everyone else loved it.
So, I don’t know if making Chicken Risotto is a huge accomplishment. All I know is that I did it, I’m proud of myself, Jeff enjoyed his meal, and I think my mom would be proud of me.
Though, I also think, she would probably have noticed that I put in a little bit too much salt. I noticed and I’m sure Jeff and Erin noticed but they were too nice to say.
And for that, I love them.