So I love my small town and the fact that they have a locally-grown farmers market in the Argenta district. Saturday I woke up and hauled my hubby & toddler promising them to stroll around and breathe better just by going to the outside market rather than a retail convenience store. I’m smiling from ear to ear with my cute recyclable shopping bag. I only came for blueberries really and as I’m tasting a couple that the farmer offered me to taste, before my purchase, I glance over… “OH! and can I get one of those cucumbers you have there?!” The farmer, poor thing, looks at me, baffled, and respectfully responds, “Ma’am, those are zucchinis.” SHOOT! I think. Dang it. I’ve done it again. Hiding my ignorance I blurt out, “Well, I’d like one of those anyways…” Farmer grabs a couple and says, “Here. Take two.” I smile, embarrassed, and pay him cash the price of 1, while placing my ZUCCHINI’s and quart of freshly picked blueberries in my plastic bag. Stroll away laughing at myself…cuz it’s better to laugh than to cry! Here I’ve been looking for zucchini’s a whole year to make this delicious zucchini bread recipe I have, and kept thinking, “gosh, this store never carries zucchini!!” Come to find out…I don’t carry the right mental image of what one looks like!
Later that same sunny, breezy Saturday, I’m feeling even more hippy/organic and I’m reading the instructions for this bread I’ve never made. I like to follow instructions. I’m a little bit of a perfectionist with a side of procrastination. Is it my Biology/Pre-Med background that does this? You gotta be exact when you’re in the Chemistry lab. You can’t just miss a decimal point or something in there might explode. So when the recipe says “squeeze the extra moisture from the zucchini…” Dang, I think. I wash my hands again and grab bunches of those freshly shredded green things and *squeeze* I go…. SQUEEZE in between my hands and trying to just let the juice out and not let the zuch slip down my arm….
…so I’m telling my friend, who gave me the recipe, “hey, do you really squeeze the zucchini in that recipe to get the extra juice out? or do you just shred it?” My friend says, “Did you SQUEEZE it? like…how?” and I felt that warmness in my cheeks, yet again, when I looked into her eyes….DANG. I’ve done it again. Who would’ve thought using a STRAINER is the next best thing to using your hands to *squeeze* things?…
Earlier I said I’d rather laugh at myself. It really is better. Just join the fun and laugh WITH yourself. When I used to take Spanish flamenco classes growing up, my teacher always threatened us that if we made a mistake, we never EVER ought to make a face showing our horror, nor stopping and losing track of our steps in the dance. She said we just had to look down at whatever we had dropped, if anything, and laugh at it, and keep going. So that’s what I do when it comes to cooking and I make a *blurb*.
Deep inside you don’t know what I’ve had to overcome to get myself to not care about this issue. It used to give me a lump in my throat if someone teased me. You see, I grew up without a mom my formative years. Then my widowed father hired a maid to cook and clean for us because we couldn’t deal with our grief, among other things and he needed help. I wasn’t really allowed in the kitchen. My one duty in life, per my dad, was to 1. Study, 2. Study, 3. Study, and lastly, if there was any time left over, 4. STUDY. So cooking? out of my orbit. I didn’t have a need nor desire to learn about it. I had to learn English and get straight A’s to get into a good university in the USA because I wanted to be a doctor. *phew* Later in life, once in college, I started feeling insecure about the fact that I had never boiled an egg, and everyone here seemed to have a fetish with those darn (yet delicious) chocolate chip cookies and I had never made them….ever….never boiled an egg. Remember?
So you know. Insecure. Me? a Latina woman who doesn’t know how to cook? What? AND you don’t cook spicy food? (that’s a whole other blog post about the difference between spicy Mexican food and our bland, but still flavorful Central American food…) So I used to feel insecure but now I just laugh WITH myself. I made it thru college eating who knows how much cereal and other potluck leftovers and oh, the blessed Cafeteria food. When I got married, GEESH, now I had to feed him? Uh.OH.
I’ve made great strides and I now make some mean Black Bean Soup, chicken tacos a la Nicaraguan with my own twist, and have even learned some American recipes. I had to write about this more than anything to allow the humor to crush any insecurity that may creep up about my cooking. And who knows…maybe you “gentle reader”, could relate with how I’m scared to death about this yeast package that’s sitting in my freezer that my friend Rachel gave me to make honey oatmeal bread….Does that yeast have teeth? I’d rather keep it frozen. Just in case.
~I ain’t no Rachael Ray