Tuesday, January 27, 2009

You've Heard of Directionally Challenged...

You know who they are. The can't-find-their-way-out-of-a-paper-bag folks. When it comes to the directionally-challenged, it is generally accepted that there's nothing they can do about it. They're missing the Directions Gene. People just chuckle and accommodate them. Or someone else drives them to their destination.

I am not directionally-challenged. I am directionally-gifted. I have an internal compass, and Google Earth in my head. Once I drive someplace, I can always get back to it without directions. Put a blindfold on me, spin me around in a circle, and tell me to point north. I can do it.

I find comfort in this giftedness because I am so challenged in something else. Cooking. I am Cooking Challenged.

I cannot cook.

I can boil water. I can usually manage toast. The microwave is my friend. I have to look at the mac & cheese box every time to remember how much butter I should put in. I can follow my mom's choc chip cookie recipe from my childhood, just like the directionally-challenged can get to their own mailbox and back.

Well, it's not that I can't cook, exactly. I am capable of cooking. The directionally-challenged are capable of arriving at their destination. But they don't remember how to get there next time. It's the same with me and cooking. I can cook something, but then I don't remember how to cook it the next time.

A couple of years ago, my husband's grandma invited me over and taught me how to make freezer jam. It was an all-day event, and she explained to me in great detail everything I needed to know. And by the time I left her house, I had completely forgotten all of her instructions. I still don't know how to make freezer jam.

My kitchen ineptitude has always bothered me because I have this idea in my mind that the wife is supposed to do all the cooking, and I always felt like a bad wife because I can't cook.

Then this week, my husband and I drove past the vacant strawberry stand where I'd purchased the berries I made into jam at Grandma's house, and I wistfully wished her freezer jam lesson had stuck in my brain. I thought, I'm as bad with cooking at some people are with directions.

That's when it clicked. Just as I give grace to the directionally-challenged, who can't help it, I need to give myself grace in the kitchen. I'm not a bad wife because I can't cook. It's just that God took all my giftedness and poured it into being great with directions, and there was nothing left over to distribute to the cooking part of my brain. (Actually, there is no "cooking part" in my brain.)

I shall henceforth simply be content with my Cooking Challenged self, accepting that there's nothing I can do about it. I'm missing the Cooking Gene. Don't toss me the illogical logic that you'd think I'd be good at cooking if I'm good at directions because cooking is all about following directions. Just chuckle and accommodate me.

And then enjoy a fine meal cooked by my husband, who easily rivals master chefs, and cooks just for fun because he loves it. And thank God he does.