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Cooking is so DUMB, The Addendum

April 19, 2012

At the end of my last “…is so DUMB” post (a new series where I take my frustration out on inanimate objects and ideas rather than on my incompetence), I mentioned that what had inspired the post was a garlic pizza recipe with which I was struggling. Well, I finally got around to taking out the dough and cooking the pizza. Here’s the result:

Garlic and Spinach Pizza

As always, click for an obnoxiously larger pic

In other words, I think this embodies the “Everything went better than expected” Rageface meme.

But in the aftermath to that post, aerin had commented (among other things):

…cooking is work. It’s not something that is intuitive for most people. It’s not something everyone can be good at.

Why are there so many skills (like cooking and baking) that everyone assumes are easy? In reality, they are quite difficult to do well. (Other difficult skills: gardening, maintaining a lawn, writing a résumé, teaching, changing the oil in one’s car, re-building a server, taking care of multiple young children, etc.) All of these can be done (and learned) for the most part, but it takes time. It’s not necessarily second nature.

That made me get to thinking. A lot of the things that aerin mentions are skills that are “expected” of adults. It seems expected that as soon as you grow up, you move out of your parents’ home, and then become a self-sufficient person. And that means that you (or your spouse) cook. You maintain the lawn. When you’re searching for jobs, you write your own star resume and cover letter. You change your own car oil. And when you and your spouse have kids (because you must certainly do that!) you must intuitively be a good parent.

…but these things…these are things that people aren’t naturally inclined to. When people hit puberty and the waterworks that enable people to make babies turns on, it’s not like these waterworks also turn on an innate ability to parent. Each of these things must be learned, and increasingly, we aren’t learning how to do them.

I definitely didn’t cook when I was growing up — not even to help my mom or dad. Then again, when I was growing up, there was a lot of fast food. And when there wasn’t fast food, there was a lot of cereal and PB&Js.

However, I have thought about this “Is so DUMB.” series in a different way…really, it’s not that I don’t understand that these are all things that take practice and time…rather, I think that I’m frustrated with the fact that I can’t really visibly see progress.

I have seen artists’ sketches from when they were just starting…I have seen people progress from the same sort of flaws that I have in my art to stunning pieces. So, from looking at the progression shots, I know that things can get better over time…but at the same time…I’m looking at those progress shots after the fact. Change as it happens is so incremental…you might not notice it until a long time.

I’m impatient. I want to be good now. I want things to turn out great now.

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