I dread getting new contacts because the doctor insists on dilating my eyes, which leaves me blind and utterly useless for the next three hours. As a glasses-wearing child I couldn’t even see clearly enough after my exam to pick out my new frames. I cringe remembering how I was left to the mercy of the fashion sense of my parents and a well-meaning office assistant.
Yesterday my mom had to pick up some things inside Walmart after my exam, meaning that she had to lead me through the store like a helpless blind puppy dog, terrified that I might unknowingly pass someone I knew without so much as a nod or a wave while she was reading me the descriptions on the shaving cream bottles or pulling me through the produce aisle.
When I regained my sight that afternoon, I had the brilliant idea to cook dinner for my parents. I thought I could give them a reason to believe I do possess some domestic skills.
In Barcelona, I watched friends make salads with romaine or a darker, leafier green that they doused heavily with vinegar and olive oil (gourmet versions, naturally, as we were in the Mediterranean). They tossed in nuts and possibly some dried raisins or sultans, maybe a few halved cherry tomatoes and some sort of cheese (exotic by U.S. terms -- a mild blue-bell variety or something from a goat or sheep). They finished by generously sprinkling in sea salt and grinding on pepper.
I made my best imitation, tossing together organic mixed baby greens, walnuts, goat cheese, dried cranberries and avocado. I served it with my attempt to recreate fresh-from-the-corner-bakery Spanish bread rubbed with tomato innards, olive oil and sea salt.
Judging by the quiet chewing, my parents weren’t too impressed. I think my dad only finished his portion because I threw in an unhealthy amount of Craisins in an underhanded effort to appeal to his insatiable sweet tooth. Neither he nor my mom appreciated the (entire) avocado I added. At least they appeared to enjoy the bread, although they mentioned it would have been tastier toasted.
My dad and I also baked a coconut cake. I found it funny that he was so proud of our creation despite the fact that it came from a Duncan Hines box. I suppose choosing to build a layered version and adding homemade frosting upped the difficulty level. We were so clueless that we accidentally made a German chocolate cake icing recipe from our thick, ancient copy of The Joy of Cooking (which I find impossibly intimidating), imagining that it would be a fluffy, white frosting of flaked coconut.
Now I simply must see the new Julia Child movie (with Meryl Streep!) to inspire further culinary endeavors ...