I make mistakes all the time. Then I keep cooking.

People are always surprised I can cook; I can only attribute this to my general ineptitude in other areas of life. I firmly believe that anybody with two forearms and a stomach can learn to cook well, but many people do not believe this. During conversations, sometimes the topic of cooking a certain food comes up. Granola, for instance. “It’s easy,” I insist. Suddenly, eyes narrow and turn shifty, heads are cocked. “Really? It’s easy?” Yes, it is! I swear, if it weren’t easy, I wouldn’t say so. And I wouldn’t make it as often as I do.

But most people have reason to be skeptical. How many times has some smug back-to-nature-type D-bag insisted that “growing /making/brewing/breeding/milking your own ____” is a cinch, when you know – YOU EFFING KNOW – it is neither a cinch nor anything short of a huge, time-consuming hassle. Should we be made to feel like bad people because we’re not juicing our own fruit or milling our own flour? I don’t think so. Furthermore, these people are part of why most people eschew cooking. Telling someone how “easy” something is, and pretending like you didn’t have to work to mastery, is setting them up for failure. Why not be honest, mofo? You know what makes things a cinch? Practice. Effort. When I first started waiting tables at 18, I was a mess. I sucked. Two months in I still mostly sucked. Four years later, I could do it with my eyes closed (and if you’ve ever been a server, you know that, unfortunately, you often WILL do it with your eyes closed – in the form of “wait-mares”). And nobody likes to hear this, but that’s how it is with most professions and pursuits.

So, that said, it hurts to show you what I’m about to show you, as I have spent most of the past 25+ years trying to smooth a sheen of pure perfection onto everything I touch. By degrees, I’m learning to get over that. If nothing else, consider this a therapeutic endeavor.

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Don’t forget to stir your barley, dudes. This took a good 10 minutes of scrubbing that could have been better spent looking up celebrity gossip on dlisted.com.

(By the way, this is my second saucepan in 6 months. I had an oil fire in the first one. Fail number 2.)

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Worst Citrus Ever

Last week at work, several coworkers were “gifted” with large, bulky bags of a mottled yellow citrus fruit.Image

They smelled lovely – an aromatic blend of lemon and grapefruit – so I couldn’t understand why many people were so keen on giving away as many as possible. I ended up with about three jumbo pieces before I started turning away donations.

When I got home, I eagerly cut into my new treasures. Almost immediately I could see why nobody wanted anything to do with these yellow bastards; they are quite possibly the worst citrus ever, with absolutely no redeeming qualities. Dozens of deeply embedded seeds make the fruit difficult to eat like a grapefruit. It doesn’t produce a lot of juice – in fact, I could hardly squeeze a drop without physically digging through the pulp with my fingernails. The pith was thick and fused to the pulp, which itself failed to live up to its smell: my first bite delivered nothing but a punchless lemon flavor dotted by the bitterness of the pith that still clung on for dear life.

A coworker told me the name, but I forgot it. Maybe there are some connoisseurs of incorrigible citrus out there who know? Either way, you’re better off sticking with one of the dozens of other Japanese citrus fruits, like the beloved winter mikan – sadly on its way out of season now.