Slowly learning the mantra of success

I confess that I’m not particularly fond of cooking, though on some occasions such as Christmas and Thanksgiving, I’ve been known to put on a decent spread and most of it quite edible.
To the best of my knowledge, I haven’t killed anyone off with my culinary skill (or lack thereof) and there have been no lawsuits or court appearances. I didn’t have to flee the country and assume an alias, as well as wear a wig and Groucho Marx glasses.
I was never very good at doing things slowly when I was young. I seemed to be always in a hurry and that carried into adulthood–and even transferred into my cooking. A sad statement, I realize; one of those unavoidable truisms.
I’ve actually slowed down in the last few years. Could be the pain in my right knee from a track-and-field injury in Grade 11 or the plantar fasciitis. I no longer run everywhere I go. I don’t take the stairs two at a time. I don’t vacuum like I’ll win some kind of national award for my speed.
And though I turn the heat down now on the stove when I’m cooking, it seems I still need a fire extinguisher handy. I have shifted the blame onto my cooking utensils with their heat spreading bottoms and state-of-the-art conductivity and though I’m not proud of ducking the blame, no one is the wiser.
The truth is my cooking skills, though inadequate at best, have been put on probation. While visiting my daughter on my way back from the Yukon, I tried to help out by preparing the meals and easing Samantha’s workload.
Though my intentions were lofty and admirable, things went badly wrong, I must confess. Some of the meals I prepared were downright scary. Samantha is a vegan so some creativity was required, but the marinated portobello burger I made her could have been used in a rousing game of hockey as a stand-in for the puck.
It really was that bad.
I also made some chicken dish for Samantha’s husband, who is not vegan, and I think he might have preferred the hockey puck.
Things went so badly wrong, scarring Samantha emotionally and otherwise. After all, mothers are supposed to be able to do all things.
On my next visit, she declined my offer to cook and I had to plead for mercy and be given another opportunity to prove myself. I’d rather not discuss the outcome of that stay of execution.
The truth is we don’t have to be good at all things. I can cook well enough to keep from starving to death. I make a mean peanut butter sandwich and I love my rice pudding. Surely, that is good enough.
Winston Churchill has been credited with making many lasting statements, especially when it came to not giving up. His words that make sense to me are these: “Success consists of going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
I’m on board with that–and it may very well have been my life’s mantra had Winston proclaimed these words to me a little earlier in the game.
wendistewart@live.ca

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