My boyfriend’s brother is in town, and we met (for the first time), last night. Being the Arab that I am, it was essential to invite, and insist and insist and insist, him over for dinner tonight. And of course, it is as equally important to impress. And although it I am generally a good cook, the striving to impress usually ends up in a disaster.
When I started dating my boyfriend, I made him a lasagna. It was the first dinner I had cooked him, and we were still in the ‘does he like me?/ is he just being nice?’ phase, and so, the pressure to impress was a million times higher. Why, oh why, do women think that the ability to cook a decent meal will make a man get down on his knees and vow his endless love? I mean, seriously, what do we expect, when we cook, and all our senses are directed towards that first bite he takes, just so we can make out whether we passed or failed that critical exam?! What is even more maddening, is the fact that 9 times out of 10, they don’t even notice what it is that they just placed in their mouth!
So, anyway, I was going to make a lasagna. The decision to cook that not random, of course! It was after detailed and careful surveys that I ran across every single person I ever served food for, as well as a week of browsing the internet for meal ideas for ‘the first big dinner’. You know, like Cosmopolitan would suggest something not complicated but not too easy, to show him you’re a woman who loves a challenge. Yes, apparently, what you cook, ladies, defines your character.
After work, I passed by the grocery store to pick up the ingredients I need, got home, took a nap (to ensure my beauty is also well looked after), and then decided it was time to start cooking. Little did I know that I had run out of gas. So, after starting my music in the kitchen, trying to get the mood right, all hell broke loose, not only because I ran out of gas, but because I have NO IDEA how to change a gas cylinder. The clock was ticking, and what if I don’t make the meal in time? What if I lose the possibility of a life changing heart melting everlasting love, because I ran out of the stupid gas!
So I texted a friend, and not-so-patiently waited for them to come over, and then we both went out and got a gas cylinder, and changed the stupid thing, before I literally threw out my friend, to try and focus again on the big meal. I had lost a lot of time, and the thought of not getting everything ready in time (and thus, according to the theory above, losing all hope left in humanity), only added to the pressure. So, I get started with the white sauce, and without unnecessary embarrassing details, and despite having made lasagna at least 150 times over the past couple of years, I failed not once, but TWICE, in making the damn thing represent anything other than a slimey white water with chinks of flour floating on top. Not once, I tell you. And because the clock was REALLy ticking now, I had no time to deal with the mess, and so, my beautiful guest room housed two big pots of that slime, for the night.
And I locked the door to that room, of course.
Thankfully, the third time was a charm, and miraculously, a white sauce presented itself. By the time my boyfriend arrived, the lasagna was ‘safely’ in the oven, and everything looked normal.
Over a year later, we still laugh about that story, and we mostly eat out nowadays, or ‘modestly’ cook some meals at home. And if it is ruined, we throw it out, and we laugh.
I am looking forward to tonight, and I know that the stress is way less now. And as a last piece of advice, let me tell you that my boyfriend says that stress or no stress, lasagna or a cheese sandwich, if he loves you, he loves you.
So enjoy cooking, normally. Oh, and do what I did, and move to an apartment with gas pipes :)