Tony comes from a family of insane cooks.  I’m talking insane.  The italics are completely necessary.

I remember visiting his grandma and Pa in the UP one summer and staying about a week.  His grandma took a picture of us on our last day and we look seriously bloated and all around puffy.  I’m not even kidding you.  We both looked like we had gained 5 pounds.  It was unattractive.  But oh so worth it.

We eat dinner at his parents house on average once or twice a month, usually on Sundays, and it’s always something delicious and made from scratch.  We even have dessert.  And I’m not talking about store bought apple pie with ice cream.  His sister recently baked a full out chocolate cake with shaved almond topping.  For a Sunday dinner.  No special reason.  I stared in disbelief and asked if it was store bought and I got a lot of funny looks.

I am not a cook.

I grew up on hotdogs or frozen pizzas for dinner.  My parents never really made a big production out of meals.  In fact, most of my family dinner memories are of the little placemats set up for Kyle and I on the coffee table.  I don’t think this makes us a bad family.  Just a really busy one.  My mom, a complete saint and practically a single mother for many years as my dad travelled all week, would drive 45 minutes home from work, pick Kyle and I up at daycare and then finally get to dinner at 7:30.  So it’s understandable that cooking gourmet wasn’t the first thing on her priority list.

I don’t want you to get me wrong, though.  My parents did cook.  My dad grilled out a lot and when my mom had time, she had no problem making meatloaf or BBQ ribs (mmmmm…ribs).  I, on the other hand, am extra pathetic when it comes to cooking.  I barely will attempt these easy recipes.  Kraft Macaroni and Cheese is about as complicated as I get. 

I’m not sure where my distaste for cooking comes from.  I have my theories – a.) I am really, really impatient.  Sometimes I’ll forgo a dinner I’ve planned because I just don’t feel like waiting for the water to boil.  (Pathetic, remember?) b.) I’m lazy.  See Reason A above.  c.) I don’t like messes.

I think my main problem with cooking is theory C.  Tony can invade a kitchen.  I mean, I’ll find flour in the toaster 2 weeks later.  Stuff is everywhere.  And then he’ll sit and enjoy his dinner and wait to clean up. 

I, on the other hand, cannot move on to the next recipe direction until the tool or utensil I just used is rinsed, cleaned and put in the dishwasher.  Only then can I move on.  This makes for a perfect kitchen by the time the meal is over.  But it also makes for a long process.  And a frustrated fiancee.

I also just don’t ‘get’ meat.  I’m 26 and can finally cook a plain chicken breast and sort of feel confident that I’m not giving myself salmonella when I eat it.  Sort of.  (Paranoid much?)  If you asked me to cook a steak or fry up some chicken I would look at you like you were speaking Russian.  I have also never turned on a grill and sometimes step back when other people turn them on because I worry they will explode.  (Can grills explode?)

I am totally making myself out to be a nutcase, and here’s the thing…I sort of am a nutcase in the kitchen.  I guess I don’t have the confidence in myself that I can actually make a semi-decent meal all by myself.  Or that I won’t flip out and go into OCD-shock if the ktichen isn’t clean as I’m working.  Or that I won’t give a loved one some rare food-bourne illness. 

His mother and grandmother cluck at me when I tell them I don’t cook and I don’t enjoy it.  I try and joke that “thank goodness” I’m marrying Tony because he loves to cook.  They’re not having it.  So I’m working on it.  I really am.  But for another day.  Tonight I’m going with the Mac ‘n Cheese.