Kitchen Culture · Misadventures

Impressive Enough

“So, do you know any good dessert recipes that aren’t very hard?”

My roommate (as in “person I share living space with,” not “my soulmate friend with whom I share everything”) walked out of her bedroom and began the conversation without preamble.

I looked up from the solitaire game I was wasting time playing on my phone.  “What?”  I know lots of easy dessert recipes–Rice Krispie treats, blonde brownies, the lemon depression cake that is currently cooling on the kitchen table because am taking it to Easter dinner tomorrow–but the way she states the question makes me think that these would not meet her standards.

“I need a dessert–for tomorrow–I mean, I could make brownies, but those would be too easy, and I’d screw up cookies…” she trails off.

My first thought is, How do you screw up cookies?  You have to sit around forever making all the batches, sure, but they aren’t hard.

My second thought is, Ah, I get it now.

It was the not wanting to take brownies (let’s be real–a party favorite all the time, every time) that tipped me off.  It means that unspoken end to her question “Do you know any good dessert recipes that aren’t very hard…” is actually “…but still impressive so everyone will think I am amazing in the kitchen?”

There is only one contingency my hermit roommate would have for needing an impressive looking dessert–and that is that she must be going over to her fiancé’s parents’ house for Easter dinner tomorrow.  My roommate is not much of a cook, and she has been dating her future husband for over two and a half years, so it surprises me that she’s still trying to keep up the façade around his parents.

Apparently it’s still a thing, though, because the next thing out of her mouth is, “What about a cheesecake?  That’s not hard, is it?”

“Weeelll,” I begin noncommittally, “It’s not really hard–it’s just time consuming.  And expensive, because you have to buy all the cream cheese.”

“Huh.”  This is clearly not the answer she was hoping I would give.  “But what about one of those pudding-y ones?”

“Well, sure,” I agree (what else can I do?  She is clearly determined to have her cake and eat it, too, so to speak), “I mean, if you get one of those Jell-o box kinds, sure.  That’s easy.”

“Okay,” she walks back into her room.  (My roommate is like this.  Conversations begin and end without reason…)

She is apparently going with the Jell-o cheesecake idea because twenty minutes ago her fiancé appeared.  Apparently, they are adding Butterfinger to it.  I know this, because my roommate was telling said fiancé that he should have gotten a bag of the mini-candy bars rather than six full-size ones, because the big ones are more expensive.  He is insistent that he looked and this was the only choice.  (I’m sure he’s right because many Easter Bunnies were hitting all the big box stores and grocery stores today…)  And I’m guessing these bars are to be crumbled, because I’m sitting in the living room, and I’m nearly positive I’m listening to somebody beat those candy bars into bits with a rolling pin.

But I digress.  The whole conversation–needing something “fancy” but “easy”–seems a little absurd to me.  I like to impress people with my skills as much as the next girl–but if you’re going to be impressive, I always think “from scratch.”  Of course, I also think, “If I’m trying to impress the family members of a man I like, I’m sure as heck going to make something I’ve done right before.”  But what do I know?  Maybe this is why I’m the single one in this apartment…

I like people to enjoy my food, but I’ve never really worried about if people thought it was “good” enough.  I figure if it tastes good, if people eat it, if I can make it without going crazy trying to get it right–then it’s good enough.  If people sit around the table a little longer because of it–Mission Accomplished.  I’m not sure if this attitude makes me apathetic, a total egotist, or just a girl with a healthy self-image, but I do know that it means I made a lemon depression cake because yellow and citrus make me think of spring, and I’m not worried.  Because a good cake is always “impressive.”


2 thoughts on “Impressive Enough

  1. OK, so I probably shouldn’t admit that my first thought was, “You can buy a great cheesecake in the bakery department at my grocery store?” I would much rather make reservations than cook! Maybe that’s why I have never married!

  2. I’m thinking a box cheese cake would not be impressive. You write with great detail, and the sprinkling of dialogue was just right for this piece.

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