what’s the housemate burned this week? i’ll take “corn tortillas” for $200, alex.

I really don’t understand people who can’t cook at all. It is basically just following directions, and it seems to me that so long as you are literate, you ought to be able to cook. I know there’s a higher level that’s all about improvisation and intuition, and I respect that (and have even done it myself on occasion). But you might never reach that level, yet still be able to put an edible meal together.

I mean, I know it doesn’t come naturally to everyone, and I should just be glad that I am one of those to whom it does. But here’s the thing: If you know that you have, say, a tendency to burn things — I don’t mean overcook the chicken so it’s a little dry, but straight up “set it on fire and reduce it to an inedible cinder” type of burning — wouldn’t you eventually come to the realization that you should a) try cooking things at a lower temperature, and — even more importantly — b) NOT LEAVE THE ROOM WHILE YOUR FOOD IS COOKING.

I ask this because at least once a week I come home to a house filled with acrid smoke pouring out of every window and door, which have all been flung open to admit its exit. One of the housemates routinely burns the shit out of everything she attempts to cook, even simple things like eggs. When she “warms” tortillas, she throws them in a pan on a burner set to 10, then goes back to her room (which is at the opposite end of the house) for 20 minutes. It invariably ends with a pan sitting in the sink for hours in a vain attempt to soak off the incinerated remains of her meal, while she feasts upon bowls of cold cereal.

I’m glad I decided to keep my cookware in my room, because every single piece of the shared pots and pans in the kitchen have a charred black crust permanently affixed to their bottoms. It’s gotten to the point where I even keep my own sponge in a cup inside my personal cupboard, because I kept finding brand new sponges that were covered in nasty little bits of burned food.

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