Culinarily challenged.

Step 1: Dice most of an apple.

2. Shmumf in a big scoop of mayonnaise and stir it all up.

3. Add a can of tuna, stir some more, then put half the mix on a piece of toasted bread, preferably with lots of seeds and stuff. Cut the other piece of bread in half before putting it on, then you can cut the whole sandwich without pushing all the filling out as you go through the top layer.

4. Garnish with unsalted potato chips and a kombucha.

That’s about the extent of my culinary knowledge. When it comes to cooking, I am apparently 32, going on 18-year-old-college-freshman. I am not proud of this.

That reminds me, how long past its expiration date is egg nog still drinkable?

That reminds me, how long past its expiration date is egg nog still drinkable?

Nor am I entirely sure how I managed to get this far and only accumulate a half dozen recipes in my head. I suspect it’s a combination of lots of time on the road (which entails a pretty limited larder to work with), a viewpoint that says “if it’s just me eating, why bother? Let’s have cereal” and the biggest factor: incredible luck in the girlfriend department.

That’s not to say I never cook for her/others, it’s just that I kinda only cook the same few things. We ate lots of stir-fries in Belgium on my nights. Beyond that, I’m good for chili, lasagna, enchiladas, and generic spaghetti. That’s about it.

–Just for the record, there is a fringe benefit to culinary incompetence. Unable to make delicious food myself, I am amazed and overwhelmed when other people do it, so eating at others’ houses or restaurants is often a sublime experience for my poor palette, which has been 18 for 14 years now.–

But this incompetence, not previously of particular concern, is suddenly more problematic. My inspiration and food supervisor, K, is back in Belgium, and I will be required to feed myself for three months without the excuse of “oh, I’m traveling and buying small amounts of food to cook in this shitty hostel kitchen isn’t as good an option as the $1.50 lunch special across the street.”

Plus, I’m going to try and limit myself to only one burrito every three days. Think I can do it?

Learning to cook for myself is only one of the challenges, both personal and professional, that I find myself faced with, but at the moment it seems the most significant, maybe because I had a burrito the night before last and I have no firm idea what to cook tonight…

Do you like how I artfully displayed the cheese for you?

Do you like how I artfully displayed the cheese for you?

But I am mighty hungry, so if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go sauté some garlic, add broccoli and zucchini, dump a jar of tomato sauce on it, and serve over bulk pasta with a few slices of jack cheese for counterpoint. It ain’t on the menu at your fine neighborhood restaurant, but it’ll do for me. And I cooked it.

Enchiladas tomorrow.