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A cook’s version of Play-Doh

Meatloaf Masterpiece

As I looked at the picture and back at my plate, I breathed a sigh of relief. I did it: …

By Brooke Hykaway , in Degrees of Success: A grad student learns to cook , on March 23, 2010 Tags: , , ,

As I looked at the picture and back at my plate, I breathed a sigh of relief. I did it:  they finally matched up.

A cook's version of Play-Doh

I decided to tackle for my final publicized attempt. I wanted to have a standard item like this in my repertoire because it can be personalized so easily once I get into the habit of experimenting.

I was impressed that like the cake, the meatloaf was a one-bowl process. I should have seen it coming since the raw version looks pretty similar to the finished product, but I had guessed it was going to be a bit more complicated.

This is the first time I’ve baked food. By that I mean I’ve used my oven a handful of times, only for failed desserts and one recently made cake. I was nervous. I didn’t have a but I’ll pick one up soon because it will help with my impatient behavior.

Usually I would have constantly checked on it – peeked through the oven and ultimately thrown the temperature by opening and closing the door so often. But I made the effort to leave it be; after all it had to bake for an hour.

I had a weird feeling when I finally took it out of the oven and sliced into it to make sure it was done. It was fully cooked, but the craziest thing was that it actually looked good. I wasn’t used to that.

Come to think of it, everything I’ve made after the garlic and onion sauté snafu has turned out. And not just my version of turned out either (read: questionably edible) – it legitimately turned out.

I’m not sure whether it was because I faced my biggest challenge head on (Eggs Benedict) or because I had someone to cook for (an audience) but I need to maintain this momentum.

I usually put Ketchup on food to hide the burnt taste; not this time

No longer will I eat because I want macaroni and cheese. I won’t panic when someone invites me to a potluck and default to buying chips and dip (a tried and true move of mine).

I won’t settle for eating meals that I wouldn’t dream of serving to someone else. That means nothing burnt, nothing raw, and nothing that looks more like the digested version rather than the picture in the recipe.

By no means have I mastered the art of cooking or the science of baking. But I did manage to have a string of successes that will motivate me to keep learning.

I can’t wait to tell people that I used to be a total klutz in the kitchen.