A Manual for Life

We’ve been doing a lot of house cleaning and rearranging this past week to make room for some of the gifts we received for our wedding.

One couple gave us a Tiffany’s bowl. So far it has managed to stay in place on our rickety kitchen table, although I’ve considered putting rubber padding around it just in case. I’m trying to preserve the fine china in the hopes that we will one day have a dining room set or something other than an upside down cardboard box to display it on.

In the meantime, Sebastien has been using it as his own personal knick knack dish. Every night when I return home I find ear buds, change or gum wrappers in the bowl. I’ve never understood his obsession with taking things out of his pockets and putting them in bowls when he gets home. I might have to put the bowl back in the box.

Another guest offered us stainless steel copper pots and pans so I can finally replace the warped pan we’ve been frying in and the pot with the missing handle. I was hesitant to use it though, because I couldn’t bear to ruin such a nice gift.

For the first few days I just stood in the kitchen looking from the fridge to the shiny copper pans in the cabinet, and hoped they would just learn to cook themselves like all of the objects in Beauty and the Beast. When I got hungry enough, I just ordered in.

Finally one day, with expiration dates looming over my head, I pulled a package of chicken out of the fridge and decided to give it a try. Armed with a full bottle of Pam cooking spray, I placed the frying pan onto the stove. Wise words Sebastien once told me ran through my head: read the fucking manual. I ignored the voice and turned the knob on the stove. The flame hissed to life and my confidence grew. I coated the cookware with Pam and dumped a pound of meat in it. The food sizzled and crackled.

The meal turned out pretty good, but the pan didn’t fare so well. As I scraped off the last of the burnt meat in the pan I noticed brownish stains all over the bottom and the sides.

Read the fucking manual, the voice said again.

I thumbed through the instructions for cooking and cleaning and then realized what I should have done first. I relayed the information to Sebastien, who just said he would use the old pots and pans. It was easier, he said. He had a point, although I wouldn’t admit it. I guess I just wanted to believe that we could handle cookware and china like any normal adult.

But maybe we’re just not cut out for adulthood. Maybe there should be a manual for life. I would fucking read that.

About JadedBride

Amy Kraft is a print and radio journalist based in New York. Her work has appeared in publications including Scientific American, Discover, Popular Science, The Week, Psychology Today, and Distillations, a podcast out of the Chemical Heritage Foundation. She is currently working on a book of humor essays. View all posts by JadedBride

2 responses to “A Manual for Life

  • Steve

    What did you fail to do first? Inquiring minds need to know!

  • JadedBride

    To start, heat Emeril stainless steel cookware with copper with cooking oil for a few minutes. Remove pan from heat, add food and return to burner. Cook food on low to medium heat. NEVER use high heat or you will risk getting brown or blue stains on your pan.
    Peace, Martha Stewart

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