When I started Cate Can’t Cook, it was because I was an absolute disaster in the kitchen. Most of my forays into food have ended in culinary disaster and tears, if not fire. Just the question “Mom, what’s for dinner?” fills me to brimming with existential dread and leaves me reaching for the car keys, to find a faster solution. Healthy food is really important to me and it’s incredibly hard to find that if you are headed to the nearest drive-thru or TexMex joint. I wanted to try to do better for my family, though I knew it would be a huge sacrifice on my energy and my ego to attempt to cook something more difficult than a box of mac n cheese. Taking my husband’s favorite saying to heart “Failing to plan is planning to fail,” I spent time researching food prep and cooking skills, but I knew I also needed to address the biggest hurdle, my own self doubt. I took a good hard look at what helps me relax, what helps me to learn, and realized that I would have to find a way past my own criticism and fear of failing. I love to diffuse tension (especially my own) with laughter, and it gives me great joy to have people laugh along with me. So I began documenting my kitchen disasters here. It helped me keep everything in perspective. It helped me be less self-critical. And it helped me to accept failures as opportunities.
Ever so slowly, I began to notice that the disasters grew less frequent and less appetite ruining. And one day I found myself not only creating my own recipe after being inspired by one that I’d read, but cooking something that delighted my family without burning any of the food or myself. It was a proud feeling to know that I had cooked something healthy and delicious for my family that everyone enjoyed. I didn’t feel overly stressed. I didn’t feel embarrassed to set this meal on the table. I didn’t feel frustrated that I’d made something else the kids wouldn’t even try. (Yes, I’ll be sharing this recipe soon!)
Cooking is still not one of my charisms. I have to work hard to create in the kitchen without getting sidelined by mistakes. I’m not sure that it will ever be something that I love, but it has reminded me of something important. Everything takes a willingness to fail, often repeatedly, and it also takes practice, practice, and more practice. I’ve been learning so much about food and nutrition, and I hope to continue to do so, but I don’t want to stop there. I want to carry these lessons into doing what I love so much, which is learning new things. And I want to continue to tell a good story about all the fun and failure along the way.
So I hope y’all will continue to laugh along with me as I discover more lies I believed before I tried.