Pam has the amazing talent of making meals look effortless. You imagine that behind her orderly, streamlined kitchen there’s a real working kitchen, where minions toil silently and ceaselessly, sliding finished dishes through a hidden cupboard. When I cook for a crowd it’s like a cartoon—I knock over pans, stack baking sheets in precarious piles, and dirty more utensils and pots than most people own.
I’m not sure when my love of cooking developed. Early on in the marriage I made stuffed green peppers from The Joy of Cooking, and found no joy in it. “After all that work,” I lamented, “it’s just—stuffed green peppers!” My husband said, “You don’t need The Joy of Cooking. You need the I Hate to Cook Book.” But at some point I began reading and collecting cookbooks, learning more about the science of cooking, and trying more recipes than the few my mother taught me. My collection of cookbooks began to overtake my pioneer history books, my books about writing.
What about you? Love cooking? Hate cooking? Are you messy like me, or so tidy your relatives surreptitiously check your trash for takeout packages?