Sunday, January 25, 2009
Cooking Battles, or Why Pumpkin Should Never Be in a Soup
So, I’ve said before that I’ve never been a natural cook. But, a few cooking successes over the holidays made me think that maybe, just maybe, I might be getting the hang of this cooking thing. For Christmas, we made a ham, and I was pleasantly surprised when it turned out to be truly delicious. In fact, I just talked to my dad on the phone, and he lamented that the ham they made recently wasn’t as good as the ham we had together on Christmas. (I really have no idea how the ham turned out so well, but I’ve embraced my good fortune and/or cooking fluke just the same.) And then, on a whim, I made my first-ever batch of cabbage soup before the holidays. Husband raved about it, saying it reminded him of the soup his mother and late grandmother used to make. I thought maybe he was just saying that to be polite, but when he gobbled up seconds and thirds, I knew it was the truth. I made it for my parents when they visited, and they loved it, too. My mom bragged about the soup to my uncle, and then he called and asked me for the recipe! Let me just say that no one has ever asked me, the girl who consistently has pots boiling over on her stove, for a recipe. So I continued on with my cooking, now with new confidence. I became bolder, taking risks with more complicated recipes. And my streak of cooking successes came screeching to a halt with a recipe called “Pumpkin Soup.” Oh, you’ve never heard of it? There’s good reason. Pumpkin can go nicely in a pie, or maybe even in a bread. But never, ever in a soup. Husband and I each took a spoonful of the orange soup at the same time. I couldn’t help but laugh right away because it was awful, and I knew that Husband was probably trying to think of something diplomatic to say to avoid hurting my feelings. I told him that he didn’t have to eat any more. He soldiered on, insisting it wasn’t that bad. He even added a little sugar to it to make it palatable. I, however, gave up after the second spoonful, and I ended up making hot dogs for the both of us. The pumpkin soup went down the drain, and maybe so did a little of my confidence. But just like anything else, I know that sometimes you win, and sometimes you lose. Cooking can be a gamble. I think I’ll place my bets on another ham, and skip the pumpkin soup altogether.