Shayne on You: Get cookin'

Dear Maggie,

I hope my problem doesnít seem too trivial for your column. It really isnít that big a deal. But the thing is, I canít cook. I canít cook. I canít cook. I try, I really do. But everything is either burned to a crisp or served up half raw. My cakes collapse. My meats dry out. My eggs are either runny or hard. I just canít cook. My new husbandís mom is the best cook Iíve ever met. Heís used to having great meals. Weíve been married three months and heís lost ten pounds. Help!



Dear Nightmare,

No problem is trivial, especially not one that has you so upset that Iím betting youíve shed tears over it. Would I be wrong? No, I didnít think so.

So youíre a new wife, and you want to be perfect at it, and live up to the standards set by your hubbyís mom, and make him happy, and you feel like a miserable failure because you canít cook. (I can remember saying those same three words.) So first, stop saying, ďI canít cookĒ because every time you say it, you make it more true. You can cook. You just need to learn how. And youíve got the best resource in the world Ė your new mother-in-law. Donít feel embarassed to ask her, because sheís going to love you for it, and you two will bond as you learn all she has to teach you.

In the meantime, stop being so nervous about it. Your husbandís not going to leave you because you arenít Betty Crocker. If that was all he wanted, heíd have married a chef. But he married you. And not, Iíll bet, for your cooking. So relax. In this day and age, he should be cooking for you as often as you for him. Do you see him weeping in fear that his culinary contributions are less than perfect? Nah. Maybe the two of you could sign up for a cooking class or two together. Or begin experimenting together in the kitchen. (With recipes, I mean.) Wouldnít that be romantic?

Donít be so hard on yourself. Remember, you were not put on this planet to cook for someone. Youíre here to have fun. So relax about this, be easy about it. Play and have fun with it.

It can be fun, you know. To this day my girls joke about the time they took my dinner rolls out onto the porch and tried to break them with a hammer, and then tried to saw them in half with a hand saw. Neither method worked. I caught them before they got hold of the blow torch. (I, like you, was not put on this planet to cook.)



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