Mayra Cuevas English 1A 5;30pm 

When I was younger I had this theory that each and every one of us had a talent. A something we all were amazing at and whether it be big or small it was something we excelled at. Unfortunately, for me this is not the case.This is not a story about how I discovered my hidden talent nor how I practiced and perfected a hobby. However, it is a story about how I learned how to do something that made me proud of myself; cook chicken. 

People don’t usually pat themselves on the back for learning how to cook something so simple but for me it’s an accomplishment. I have not always been the best when it has come to the kitchen. So my apprehension when it comes to cooking is justified.. I have attempted to do so a number of times convincing myself I will do better than the last. Only to come up short and burn whatever it is I was making. Or to put it plain and simple, it just didn’t taste right. In order to understand why this is such an accomplishment for me we must look back at all my failures. For instance when I was about 11 years old I was beyond excited at attempting to bake brownies for the first time ever. I mixed just as the directions stated to do, I preheated to the degrees instructed, and finally all that was left to do was wait. I waited for about 25 minutes constantly checking on them through the oven. Examining and waiting for them to rise just as I would see on tv when i’d occasionally watch the cooking channel. When the timer was finally done I opened up the oven door and proceeded to take out what I thought was going to be delicious moist and warm brownies. To my dismay, they appeared to be burnt and dry. In fact, I had overcooked them so much that they hadn’t even rose the least bit. They seemed to do have done the complete opposite. No idea how that was even possible, I had managed to convince myself they probably tasted better than they looked. With a somewhat optimistic attitude I still frosted and added sprinkles to a pan full of sad looking brownies. Of course, that was a horrible idea and they in fact tasted as they looked, charred and dry. I ended up throwing the pan away because I knew t had to face defeat and wasn’t going to eat them.  After that, I vowed never to bake again because I was a stubborn child that refused to ruin baked goods for myself on any other occasion.

 Some time passed and I decided I was ready to tackle another attempt at the kitchen. This time it wouldn’t be baking because i was still scarred from the brownie incident. I wanted to make breaded chicken for dinner. I had asked my mom to direct me and give me an outline of what to do and it seemed simple enough. So I got started, I defrosted the chicken, prepared the breading it would be put into and filled the pan with oil. Then started cooking the chicken, according to me it was going well as I set every cooked piece aside onto a plate. When I was finally done I had my brother try it and he had seemed to like it. I went into my room for some rest because cooking is exhausting, let’s be real. Especially when you really don’t know what you are doing.  After a couple hours passed I went into my living room and asked my mom where my brother was. She told me he wasn’t feeling well and he had went to his room. So I come to find out that I in fact did not do a good job despite my efforts but I had give my brother food poisoning! I was as you can imagine mortified. I could hear him in the restroom and once again I had failed at cooking. I took my two failures and decided maybe it just wasn’t for me. If I ever did cook it’d be something like scrambled eggs or toast, or maybe boiling some water for ramen.

That is of course until I absolutely had to. Which brings me to the final part of my story and how I finally succeeded in my long battle with the kitchen. It was a Wednesday afternoon and I had just came home from work. My mom typically goes to church on Wednesday’s but leaves dinner ready before she leaves. On this chilly day she wasn’t really in that good of a mood but I had imagined it was because she was exhausted. It was around 5p.m. and I had asked her what was for dinner and she had said nothing. I knew it was almost time for her to leave but I had faith she’d prepare something before she did. Yes, even at my age I still rely on my mom to make me dinner but that is besides the point. I went back into my room and waited. Before I knew It I had forgotten to go back outside and check but by that time it was too late and she had already left. That’s when I had a realization that I had no other choice but to cook something for myself. I already had salad but it was just missing chicken. I figured instead of attempting to cook a whole new meal I’d just make chicken to add to the salad. I began to defrost the chicken when I realized I had absolutely no clue where to really start. I didn’t know what to marinate it with, what to put on it, if I used oil, olive oil etc. I would google it but google is filled with thousands of recipes that name ingredients I have never heard of before or even knew existed. I had tried to contact my friends via, Snapchat, twitter DM and text message. Yes, I was that desperate for help. Lastly, I did the smart thing any person would do and I facetimed my aunt for cooking instructions.  Luckily, she was willing to help and had time and patience because we both knew we were going to need plenty of that. The phone rang and she picked up right away with a “Que quieres?” Translation “what do you want?”. I had explained to her how I was starving and had no other choice but to attempt to cook for myself.   I pointed my phone camera to the pantry and from there she told me what I could season it with.Pointing the camera to several different things followed with a series of  “Yes. No. Yes. ” “Yes but be careful not too much”. I grabbed the black pepper, garlic salt, and from outside my lemon tree; a lemon. From there i cut the chicken and added the seasoning. I was ecstatic because it felt like I actually knew what I was doing and doing a fairly good job at it. Then I put it in the pan and let it slowly cook on its own. I waited and checked it constantly even though I really didn’t know how to tell if it was cooked all the way. I decided to not risk it and it’d be okay if it was a little crispy. Finally, after about 20 minutes and the moment of truth had come. I cut into the chicken and steam came out. A nice smell of lemon and pepper filled the air and I was ecstatic because finally as it appeared so I had successfully cooked something! I put it on top of my salad and proceeded to try it and it was actually pretty good. I knew I was no Gordon Ramsay but I did at the very least felt like a contestant on Hell’s Kitchen. You know the ones that always get yelled at? Although I was happy and contempt with myself  in the back of my mind was the, “I hope I really did cook it through and I don’t end up getting sick later.” I finished my salad and cleaned my dishes up and went about my day. Hours has passed and I still felt great therefore proving that I In has finally excelled in cooking something. Sure it was one dish, but no accomplishment is too small! Not only did I learn how to cook chicken that day but also learned that it’s never a bad idea to ask someone for step by step directions.After all we are never really done learning and sometimes we just need a nudge or in my case a push into the right direction. It’s okay to fail at things most don’t get it on the first try. Even the best have to keep at something to finally get it right.  My aunt taught me how to successfully cook something and I was more than grateful because One, was no longer starving Two It showed me it’s important to not give up.