There once was a time when Casey decided to cook me the most fantastic chili I had ever eaten. She bought all the ingredients for chili and she spent an entire Sunday making the chili. When it came time to putting the chili in a pot for its final cooking stage, we began to smell something burning. And not the type of burning smell that permeates the house when something has splattered on the bottom of the oven. It was an odd smell that let us know that something was very wrong.
Casey pulled the Chili off the stove top and realized what she had done wrong. She cooked the chili in an ornamental pot that wasn’t meant to be used for cooking, and the stove had burned a hole through the pot and parts of that pot had melted into the chili. Casey tried to salvage the chili by quickly pouring it into another bowl before it leaked out the bottom of the pot.
I ate every bit of that chili, and if I die of cancer one day I’m going to blame it on that chili. The chili tasted very wrong. Every bit of it tasted like burned food with a touch of a metallic flavor. But Casey had spent so much time on that chili and it was so important to her that I couldn’t let her think the chili was actually bad. She knew it was bad, because she took one bite and decided to have cereal for dinner.
Almost a month later my best friend and former college roommate came into town and stayed the week at our house. For his final meal at our house Casey decided to bake a whole chicken. She spent a couple hours preparing all the food that was supposed to go with the chicken and she placed the chicken in our clay pot and put the pot in the oven to cook.
Thirty minutes later a buzzer went off and Casey ran into the kitchen and pulled the chicken out of the oven. She took the cover of the clay pot off and the chicken looked golden brown on the outside, so she decided the chicken was done. Pretty soon my friend and I were handed plates with mashed potatoes, some other vegetable, and a chunk of what appeared to be chicken that had been pulled straight from the fridge.
The outside centimeter or so of the chicken chunks were cooked, but the rest of it was a pinkish bloody and slimy mess of raw chicken.
The final determination after those two experiences was that Casey could not cook and would never be able to cook. After all, this was a lady who was capable of baking a pot into chili. That takes a serious lack of skill.
About a month after the chicken failure, Casey announced to me and her entire family that she intended to win the Utah State Fair’s cookie baking contest.
I think I verbally let out a “pffft” when she told everyone her plans, and then I actively tried to convince her that it was impossible. I didn’t want her to get her hopes up only for her to realize how bad of a cook she actually was.
Casey ignored me and she entered about 15 different types of cookies into about 15 different contests in the Utah State Fair. The lady won pretty much every contest and the overall cookie baking award. She had studied the art of cookie baking and mastered the skill and had learned how to cook.
That was the first time I realized that my lady was incredibly smart and capable of doing anything she wanted to do. Since that moment, she’s mastered being a mother, mastered the art of baking cakes, grown a garden, and turned her online version of a journal into a thriving career.
She’s a pretty impressive lady if you ask me.
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