People, usually guys, frequently ask if I cook. Which I don’t, really. Would you cook if you ate out every day? I can bake. I have cooked, historically. Excuses excuses. Fine. So I don’t cook. It stinks up the apartment. Typically the response is disappointment—everyone likes a girl who can cook, right? It doesn’t matter that I’m a clean roommate or that I made the Dean’s List most of the time, cooking matters. Well, today, I received an unusually vehement reply. He said, “Well, I’m Greek. So everybody cooks. Even I cook. It’s really important to be able to cook. I mean, a girl who can’t cook, doesn’t cook—“ he makes this pained expression and shakes his head—“She has to be able to cook.”
This exchange nagged at me while Brian, Hess, and I shared the roast chicken from Fork—“juicy” “moist” “tantalizingly plump” “just the right amount of herbs” “THE SAUCE”—and we debated my distaste for chicken. “I just think that if I am going to kill something to eat, it had better give me exquisite pleasure.” Hess: “I do like exquisite pleasure.” Me: “So that’s why it’s okay that you guys eat the chicken, but it’s not okay if I do it.” Brian: “But what about chicken nuggets?” Me: “Touche.” Chicken nuggets and regular Coke together do give me exquisite pleasure.
And then Hess headed into the kitchen to make the next course of his dinner, breaded and fried chicken. As the scent of hot oil wafted through the air, the nagging returned. Hess is a pretty decent cook. Pete is damn good. Gustav is fantastic. Tracy is a little heavy-handed with the olive oil, no harm there. And Dani, she can cook a full Indian dinner with enough courses to make you pass out. But I have other things going for me… don’t I? I can make patterns for any article of clothing from thin air—I’ve even made a bustier and fit it to myself, bones and all. I can paint. I can tutor math up to Calculus 3. I can quote Shakespeare. And Wedding Crashers. I’m familiar with the history of the Brazilian economy. But I don’t cook.
Hess emerges from the kitchen with a steaming heap of fried chicken tenders, golden, fragrant in their grease. I could do that, I think to myself, you can fry eggplant, can’t you? Man, that smells good. I could do that. So here we go, every even numbered day from now until the end of the month, or the summer, or however long it takes until the boys rate my creation at least a 4.5 out of 5 stars, I am going to cook a meal. Until I can proudly announce to Philadelphia that, Yes, I can cook.