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Learning how to cook? Pick up a book

The other day I was in the fresh produce line, picking out a dark red pepper for our salad (baggie kind; aren’t they great!) when I remembered I hadn’t told you the one about my husband, Virgil, the chef. So here goes.
We were at dinner a couple of months ago when he tasted a sliver of a red pepper in his salad and said with gusto: ‘This is just bursting with flavor!’
‘That’s it. I think you’ve seen enough of Food Network,’ I said. ‘You’re beginning to sound too much like Emeril.’
A few days later, I noticed he had started sitting at the counter, watching me at work in the kitchen. Nothing fancy, just a pot roast or grilled chicken breast or fried pork chop with a green or yellow veggie and salad (with red pepper, of course).
‘What are you doing that for?’ he would ask.
‘That what?’
‘Putting water in the pan?’
‘To bring it to a boil, so I can drop in the pouch of frozen shoe peg corn.’
‘Oh, great! That’s my favorite. So then what do you do?’
‘You bring the water back to a boil and leave it alone, for about 15 minutes.’
I threw him the empty box. ‘Here’s the directions,’ I said. ‘It’s simple. If you can read, you can cook.’
Apparently he took that to heart, and now he’s turning out gourmet meal after gourmet meal, whether it’s blackened ribs or blackened chicken or blackened shoe peg corn.
But, trust me. Anything he wants to prepare is perfectly OK with me, but I wondered where I had gone wrong. I thought he liked my cooking; at least, that’s what he’d always said.
So I asked: ‘Why have you started cooking?’
‘I think I can … uh, I wanted to see if I could do it better than you!’
‘Fine by me,’ I said, stomping out of the kitchen. I thought, this from a guy who wants beef to taste like beef (no marinade, thank you), and potatoes to be baked or mashed. How hard can that be? Anyway, I told him: ‘I’ll help you all I can.’
A week or so later, he was really feeling the part of a superior chef. I had to go to one of those night meetings so he decided to fix himself his favorite of all favorites, Cracker Barrel Monday Night Country Fried Pork Chop. Crisp. Golden brown.
‘Do you want me to tell you how to do it?’ I asked.
Clearly insulted, he said, ‘Well, no. I think I’ve got it figured out. I’ll do that flour-thing … I’ll be just fine. Thank you anyway.’
When I got home about 10 that night, I asked: ‘How was dinner?’
‘I don’t wanna talk about it.’
‘Why not?’
‘I think I might’a done something wrong.’
‘Well, your flour-thing didn’t work. I put that pork chop down in the grease and it just laid there. When it finally started frying, I saw the flour-thing over in the corner of the skillet and the naked pork chop all by itself on the other side. So I said to myself, ‘That’s OK. I’ll just put ’em together on the plate.’
‘But I couldn’t get the fried flour to stick to the pork chop, and fried flour’s not very good by itself, and that pork chop was kind of tough, too, and it was greasy … like, really greasy.
‘Did I do something wrong?’
‘Yep. You should have gone to Cracker Barrel.’