If I try to cook, I get cut, burned or something big falls on my toe. That’s a clear message to me that I shouldn’t be in the kitchen. If I happen to compliment someone else’s cooking, they start telling me the recipe. Which, I don’t care how simple it is, goes completely over my head. So I say, “I can’t cook.” That’s when they start repeating the recipe, but this time, slower and louder. Like somehow, since I can’t cook, I’m also deaf.

Years ago I was given a crockpot. It intimidates me. Time and again, I’ve almost sold it, almost given it away. I’ve stared at it for decades. Where do you put it? What do you do with it? It’s been my nemesis. Recently I finally managed to cook chicken in it. That’s all, just chicken. Pre-cut tenderloin chicken breast that my vegetarian husband knew how to select and buy at the grocery store, again another place I’m inept. Chicken and water. Miraculously, I can put those two things in and the crockpot does not bite me, burn me or throw something on my toe. It just does the work. And I don’t know if the chicken is broiled, boiled or stewed or what you call it, I just know it’s edible.

So, mistakenly, I told friends I’d conquered the crockpot. And they started telling me recipes. And then, they started telling them to me loudly. — By Martha Hannah