Anyone, Except for Me, can Cook


Andrey Pavlov / Stocksy United

Anonymous is preparing a healthy salad with seeds

Bonnie Horn, Staff Writer

If you are a senior like me, you’ve probably been asked this question approximately one million times: “Are you ready?” And once again, if you are like me, you have absolutely no idea how to answer that question. A couple of days ago as I was sitting in my room pondering this massive question, I realized that I lack one of the fundamental skills necessary for when I attempt to survive in the jungle called college: I cannot cook. My idea of fine cuisine is takeout and if you ask me how one makes boxed mac and cheese, I will not be able to tell you (I’ve been the victim of a deadly cheese explosion). Today, I’ve decided to make breakfast, lunch, and dinner by myself, and since I enjoy making things 1000x more difficult than necessary, I will only be reading each recipe once, proving the wise words Disney’s Chef Gusteau once said, “Anyone can cook.” 


For this meal, I chose to start small and make cinnamon rolls, but little did I know that making dough from scratch is quite a few steps. After my sister read me the ingredients, I immediately wished that I hadn’t fazed out through half of it and set to work. Flour and sugar seemed obvious, however, I forgot the precise measurements and proceeded to dump heaps of it into the bowl. Then, I put the milk and eggs into the mixture and added a couple of drops of vanilla extract for good measure; although to tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure what vanilla extract actually does. It just sounded fancy, so I went with it. Then for the filling, I combined butter, brown sugar, and cinnamon. Unfortunately, in my haste to be done with these, I opened the wrong side of my cinnamon container and poured quite a bit of cinnamon into my mixing bowl. Let’s just say these cinnamon rolls really lived up to their name. Finally, I drizzled the filling across the dough and rolled them into beautifully imperfect circles. The recipe called for the cinnamon rolls to bake at 350 degrees, and while I remembered the temperature correctly, I accidentally pushed convection instead of bake on my oven. In case you are like me and you’re not quite sure what this means, the convection button causes the outside to bake and the inside to stay liquidized. When the timer rang, and I took my cinnamon rolls out of the oven, I was filled with such hope as they actually looked edible. However, I took one bite of it, and I quickly realized it was not. I think it’s safe to say that I did not pass this challenge, but I’m pretty confident that next time I try to make a baked good, I’ll remember to push bake on my oven. 


Since Chinese food is my absolute favorite, I decided to make one of my all-time favorite meals: chicken fried rice. This was definitely the meal that I felt the most confidence going into since the recipe didn’t have more than five instructions. First, I cooked the chicken, which only took about five minutes, and then I added the chopped peas and carrots into the bowl. Next, I proceeded to cook the rice, which I considered to be the most daunting part of this entire process, but it went surprisingly well. After scrambling some eggs, I combined all of my ingredients and cooked them for about two minutes. Now, I’m not sure exactly why I did this, but I decided to use the little frozen sweet and sour sauces that I found in my freezer, and since I was too impatient to wait for them to thaw, I figured putting the frozen sauce blocks onto the rice and popping it into the microwave for a few minutes would suffice. After about three minutes, I took my bowl out and the sauce had completely liquified instead of having a nice thicker consistency, which was fine, but not ideal. Overall though, I would say that this was a very successful meal that I can see myself making quite often in the future. 


For my last challenge, I decided to conquer the unconquerable, defeat the undefeatable, and make the impossible possible: I made mac and cheese from scratch. Already on to a bad start, I failed to remember to boil the water before putting the noodles in the pot, which proved to be a very costly mistake. After fixing this, and by fixing it I mean starting over completely, I waited a little while before draining my noodles; however, due to my sister accidentally putting our plastic strainer on a lit stove three weeks ago, I had to use a slotted spoon to get the water out. Unfortunately, several noodles were lost. Afterward, I added the butter and milk (although I will admit I almost forgot about the milk) and poured melted Velveeta into the pot. Finally, I placed my mixture into the oven and for a little extra pizzazz, I put breadcrumbs on top. Overall, besides the strainer fiasco, this was surprisingly easy, but then again, I did have five failed mac and cheese attempts to go off of when doing this challenge. Although not boiling water seems like a big no-no, because I put breadcrumbs on top of it, I’m calling this a gourmet meal and a victory for me! However, I think that it would probably be best for me to just stick to Kraft in the future.  

Even though this challenge was a fun experience, I would be lying if I said I now feel like an accomplished adult. I don’t think there will ever be a day when I win Chopped or become the next Gordon Ramsey, but I will say that if anyone ever comes up with a tv show for the best worst chef, I think I at least have a shot. 

Disclaimer: My sister would like it to be known that despite putting our strainer on the stove, she is in fact a very talented chef.