Me Against My Oven


The following story can also be called “How I Coached Myself To Overcome Doubt”

The conversation went something like this:

Me: What would you like me to bring to Thanksgiving dinner?

Mom: I am not sure.

Dad: Scalloped potatoes

Me: Sounds good.

And The Panic Sets In

I have never made scalloped potatoes before.

Also, I get nervous cooking for everyone in my family.

Not to mention, I always under salt or undercook due to my slight anxiety about it.

It all stems from years ago I brought over an egg souffle and somehow the eggs turned green in the cooking process, it is still mentioned today. So, I text my best friend and she lets me know that Target has some really good scalloped potatoes. For a moment I thought, yes, that is exactly what I am going to do. I will buy them, put them in a dish and pass them off as my own.

As the days went past I began to think on this idea more. I thought “I can do this. I can make scalloped potatoes”. So, I decided to do a test run, but that never happened. Instead, I went to the store and just bought extra for Thanksgiving. Thinking that if I messed it up in some way, I would just make another one.

The day of, I woke up early. I had some coffee. Did some reading and got myself into a positive headspace. I did not think about the pressure or fear.

My son and I peeled the potatoes and he sliced every single one. He loves helping in the kitchen and it was great having a partner to distract me.

Next, I prepared all of my ingredients ahead of time.

(ignore the crockpot)

I began with the cheese sauce, that was the item I was most stressed about. Making sauces is out of my comfort zone.

It was actually coming together. The temperature on the stove was perfect, everything was mixing properly and I was beginning to feel awesome.

We loaded up the dish with potatoes and sauce (not pictured) and then another layer of potatoes and sauce, then topped it off with cheese and popped it in the oven.

So now is the time I am waiting.

The pressure is on.

See, I had to double the recipe.

So, the cooking time is pulling at me. What if the potatoes take longer to cook and the cheese on top burns? I felt compelled to go over every variable. 

Then I hear the oven timer go off. The moment of truth. 


The final outcome. I had every person in my house take a little taste so no one would notice.

Everyone gave the big thumbs up but of course, me being the toughest critic felt it was a bit salty.  

Either way, times up. It was time to go no time to spare. 

Now, the result…after everything and a wonderful dinner with family here is the true test of an acceptable dish.

This was at the end of dinner and by the time I took the dish home the rest of it was gone.

What I Accomplished And Overcame  

I thought to my self on the way home what is the lesson here? How can I wrap up the story? I do not believe it comes down to one thing.

  1. Mistakes happen. They are not planned. You could do all the preparation time and cook the dish beforehand to test it out but mistakes happen. Nothing we can do about them except to have a light heart about them and roll with what comes next. 
  2. Believe in yourself. I knew I could do it. I knew I could from the moment my Dad said “scalloped potatoes”. Why did I put myself through all that doubt and stress? It is okay for me to know that I am a good cook.
  3. Do not be afraid to try something new. Even if it intimidates you. It was so satisfying to see my dish empty and to hear all the compliments and if I would have allowed fear to take over…that would for sure would have happened.