It's not that I won't or can't cook - I just never learned how.
My earliest memories of cooking have to do with deep frying a slice of bread saturated with a mixture of egg batter and sugar. I don't remember how old I was, but I recall I wasn't allowed to play with matches. The event was received with less than overpowering enthusiasm from members of my family. I managed to convince my brother to sample a portion of what I tried in vain to pass off as French toast. I'm not sure what he thought of it, but he didn't speak for a full ten minutes. And not out of politeness. I believe the lad's vocal chords had been singed silly.
Years later, while I was entertaining friends in my hole in the wall apartment in New York, I discovered that milk that has turned sour can ruin an otherwise good cup of coffee. And a friendship or two. I have since taken my coffee black. The relief of not having to remember to buy milk has added years to my life and pennies to my bank balance. I almost succumbed to the lure of non-dairy creamers until I discovered their strong resemblance to plaster of Paris. As a matter of fact, plaster of Paris tastes better and adds a singularly European flavor to the whole affair of making a cup of java.
Which brings me to another favorite substance - Kraft Cheese Food. Have you played with this stuff? It glows in the dark and has a calming effect when you place a slice over your eyes. And the color! Such a perfect yellow! I often use strips of it to mark off parking spots. If they made it thinner, it would make a good substitute for Post-It notes.
Frozen veggies are easy to cook, have some form of nourishment and impress women if you say you eat a lot of them and leave out the word "frozen". I used to eat frozen veggies until I discovered that the date stamped on the packet was their expiration date and not the date they were packed. Yes, I have tasted freezer burn and am a better human being for having done that.
And don't forget your requisite daily intake of fruit - and I'm not talking about processed, sugar laden, artificially colored, strawberry flavored breakfast snacks. No, I mean the good old-fashioned stuff that comes in cans labelled "With Heavy Syrup". Yum! It's amazing how they grow without seeds! Great stuff! And they last a long time in the bottom shelf of the fridge, if you don't mind a bit of that green film that comes with years of cold storage.
But cook I have, more out of necessity than the urge to poison friends and family. It all started when I was at college in Blacksburg, Virginia, home to the cleanest Mc Donald's on this planet. My mathematical bent (and my bank statement) made it painfully obvious that I would be fiscally insolvent in approximately four days if I continued to enjoy my diet of burritos, burgers, French fried delights and Coke. While contemplating this unhappy thought, I ran into (actually he ran into me - my diet didn't permit much running) a learned gentleman who I shall simply call Freddy, because disclosing his real name (Farrokh Langdana) would be nothing less than an invasion of privacy.
I was impressed by Freddy - he was articulate, knowledgeable about things like budget deficits and mint tea, and had a girlfriend. He was also the owner of a tempermental though well-meaning Volkswagen Bug that could be driven through gear changes without using its clutch. The automobile boasted about 4000 miles to the gallon and could be heard in the next county. Still, nothing compared to the thrill of sitting in the front seat, watching portions of I-81 whizz past the rusted floorboard. It was an emotion rivalled only by stealing a ride in the oversize dryers at the school laundry.
To be continued...