For dinner tonight, I made french toast and sweet potato home fries. My housemate Mr. K, who is just learning to cook, thought the potatoes were fantastic, and asked where I found the recipe. I gave him a blank stare and mumbled something incoherent like “it’s not like that,” or “oh, no recipe.”
I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a written recipe for sweet potato home fries (I think I just learned to make them 10 years ago by cooking them with Mom). But tonight’s rendition was different from those, since it included mushrooms (been in the fridge a week needed to be used) and fresh sage (which Mom brought me last weekend from her garden and, likewise, needed to be used). I didn’t follow a recipe for the French toast either; I just cooked it.
The intent of this post is not to boast about my mad cooking skillz, but rather to draw a connection between that moment when I had no clear response to Mr. K’s question, and the multitude of similar moments I have in class every day.
Cooking is something that I just do without a recipe or instructions. Likewise, high school science is second nature to me. My students ask me basic questions that I have not considered since 8th grade, and I don’t have a ready response for them. I don’t know how to explain things that are so fundamental to the way I think. We all end up frustrated.
At least the potatoes were tasty.