My high school Calculus teacher, Mrs. Burrell, once said to me, “When I watch Emeril and he’s cooking something, he’ll just throw in the last ingredient and say ‘BAM!’ and all of a sudden it’s delicious. When I try to emulate it, my food is disgusting. And then he says something like ‘It’s not rocket science!’ And then I usually say out loud, ‘Oh yeah, Emeril? My food may be inedible, but I can do rocket science. BAM!'”
This woman was the reason I decided to major in math in college.
Why do I bring up Mrs. Burrell, you ask? Because I know a lot of things (the phonetic alphabet, how to get just about any stain out of clothes, how to pronounce the word “ophthalmologist” in French, what milk looks like after it’s been left out in a glass for a few days, Calculus) but I don’t know anything about cooking.
For instance, I didn’t know until tonight that “simmer” means “on low.” I also don’t know what to do when you accidentally over-simmer couscous and burn off all the water and butter… What do you add? And when the couscous comes out tasting about as good as chewing on a blade of wheat, what do you add to make it taste better? What if your only options are salt, pepper and paprika? And when you realize that you haven’t actually filled up your salt and pepper shakers, how do you know which one should be salt and which should be pepper? And after you’re done eating, what do you do with the couscous that sticks to the pot because, for the first time in your life, you don’t have a garbage disposal?
Good thing my dad will be here tomorrow to tell me what to do with all this couscous all over my kitchen.