Ay, there's the rub.


My Myers-Briggs personality type is ISTJ, and apparently this is the personality type that puts in too much effort. Insouciance is not a reality for me--instead I care way too much about everyone and everything.

In an eating realm, this translates to inviting people over for dinner, trying to make too many dishes or one labor-intensive dish*, losing my cool (a cool that arguably never existed), and then secretly wishing that no one will show up and hating everyone before they even get there. I'm a real treat, y'all!

I'm trying to become better at handling stress given the career path I've chosen, but I have a wealth of stories about cooking experiments gone awry and appear to be accumulating more every day, hence why I made disgusting jam thumbprint cookies at 4 am before my Cardio quiz and then forgot to bring them to school to give away this week.**

This one summer I lived with a group of subletters who I did not know well but were actually really lovely people. They were big proponents of "family dinner," in which we ate together every night, except the majority of time, I couldn't make it because I had over-commited my time that summer. Also I may or may not get a secret thrill when I back out of plans.

Because I am not-so-secretly very competitive (see: any occasion where I have played board games ever. I'm so sorry, people I conned into playing with me!), when I did cook for family dinner, I for some reason felt like I had to make The Best Dish Ever. Because I am on the fast track towards cardiovascular disease, The Best Dish Ever to me constitutes fried stuff. Specifically: General Tso's chicken.

I don't know if you've ever tried to make General Tso's chicken, a dish of questionable ethnic origins, but it's actually really have to fry that chicken twice! There are sauces that need to be mixed and raw meat to be cut and chicken to be double (!) coated in cornstarch. If you're me, you will also somehow manage to knock over a vat of oil onto yourself and your kitchen floor. Then you'll change out of your oil-soaked clothes but feel confused when everyone else changes too because somehow this just escalated from family dinner to Fancy Dinner Party.

But you're all eating burnt oil-drenched chicken at the end of the night, so who is the joke really on? Probably me.

The moral of the story: take it easy, my dinner party brethren. I would do well to heed my own advice.

*Gnocchi is another labor-intensive dish--you have to make mashed potatoes (difficult. high likelihood that you will break into a sweat while mashing because you are a poor student without a KitchenAid mixer) and then you have to make handmade pasta from those mashed potatoes. Anything that can be called "handmade" needs to be avoided at all costs.

**The comments for the recipe even said that the cookies would turn out disgusting and I totally read them beforehand but opted to try the recipe anyway. Why do I do this??

Shara4 Comments