I’m not fearful of spiders or the dark.  I’m not fearful of heights or death.  I’m not fearful of thunder and lightning or of flying.

But, I have mageirocophobia – the fear of cooking, in the form of cooking for other people.

The mere thought of cooking for other people pushes me into a fear-induced panic, which includes sweating, heart palpitations and shaking. 

I have absolutely no confidence in my culinary skills.  Perhaps it is because my culinary skills are non-existent. 

Don’t get me wrong.  I can cook.  I can even theoretically follow a recipe, but cooking isn’t a pleasurable experience for me.  Every meal I make, I worry about how it’s going to taste, how it’s going to look, how it’s going to fail. 

It took me at least 6 months to vanquish the fear of cooking for A.  It helps that he’s the most non-picky eater and wonderfully understanding of my phobia and seems to always compliment anything I make.  But, I still can’t seem to cook for other people without inducing a panic attack.

Perhaps, it’s also because my inadequacies are readily apparent when you have had dinner at any one of my relative’s homes.  They are almost all amazing cooks that can produce fragrant, delicious, visually appealing meals at the drop of a hat.  I could argue that they have more experience, are older…but then there’s my cousin J… She is the picture of the perfect housewife.  She can keep her house relatively spotless, even with her active 18 month old.  She makes dinners like roasts and stuffed chicken breasts on a regular basis, and everything looks and tastes wonderful, even when it’s a simple meal.

An example — I was over there recently and she asks me if I wanted a sandwich for lunch.  Now, if I was making a sandwich for somebody on a typical day when I’m not really prepared for company – it would be just whatever deli meats I have in the fridge, mayo, and a tomato if I actually had one, and that’s probably it.  Oh, and cheese.

Her sandwich:  Toasted bread with turkey breast and cheese, tomatoes, bacon, lettuce, mayo.  On the side of the plate, perfectly sliced celery sticks. 

Even if I had tried, I could not have made it look as nice as she did. 

I think my jealousy is apparent.

I am constantly trying to conquer my fear.  When I know I will have family for the weekend or someone coming over, I always start with the full intention of cooking a meal.  I think of something simple that I’ve made hundreds of times and hardly ever mess up, and I decide that this is the time when my fear will be conquered.

And, every time, we end up ordering in or going out for dinner because the fear consumes me. 

Perhaps a cooking class is something I need to take to boost (or in my case, create) the confidence I need to tackle this ridiculous fear.

the undomestic housewife


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