I can cook numerous "exotic" dishes, all kinds of international cuisine, soul food, Northerner food; I can bake cakes, bread, make butter- whatever you want.
As long as you don't want pancakes.
For as long as I've been learning to cook, the pancake has been my nemesis. The first time I tried to make pancakes, I was seven years old. That pancake was perfectly browned on one side....and perfectly adhered to the skillet on the other. Mama had to scrape it out with a putty knife it was so glued to the spot. She banished me from pancake making for a while. I tried again when I was nine- we were living in Iowa, and it was an absurdly cold morning in December. I poured in my batter- and five seconds later, the pancake had spread to such epic proportions that I couldn't get it out of the pan. Then, it started to burn and I panicked- during my mad rush to avoid my previous mistake, I gave the pancake a good shove right onto the next hot eye. Once again, pancake destroyed, huge mess, pancake banishment. Again, I tried when I was eleven- not so epic, they just fell all to pieces. All through my teen years, they fell apart, got stuck, burned to the point that they could've been used in a discus event (because they looked at if they'd been flash fried)...then, I reached an apex when I was twenty-one.
Now, to set the scene here, so that you may truly understand how epic this was: I was living in a studio apartment on (technically, as there was a basement, and you entered the building on the basement level) the fourth floor, overlooking a dismally huge parking lot. There were a few big oak trees on the strip of landscaping that was covered in snow at the time. I had one window, and it looked almost directly into one of those oak trees. My boyfriend had stayed the night, and we'd gotten up to a blizzard. We weren't going anywhere, so I proposed breakfast from my tiny, tiny studio apartment kitchen. He requested pancakes, and sat on my couch watching the news. I swallowed my pride, said a prayer, and commenced on making pancakes. The batter turned out great, the first pour, fantastic. I'm starting to believe that God is on my side with this one. The pancake is perfectly round, perfectly centered in the pan that has been heated to the perfect temperature. I go for what I think is the point of no return- the flip. SHE SCORES A PERFECT FLIP! And then....FIRE. The f&*king thing literally had flames coming off of it- they leap off of the pancake, a pretty yellow and orange color that makes my failure just a bit prettier. I try to blow them out frantically, I pick up the pan and wave it, and then...I make a mad dash for the window. My boyfriend at the time stares in disbelief as I run to the window, throw it open, and throw the conflagrating pancake outside. But, I haven't just thrown it, I've hurled it- somehow I miss the massive oak tree....and it lands, not in the snow, but on someone's fairly new red car- and it's still in flames.
I closed the window, turned around to look at what may have been the most stunned boyfriend I've ever had, and say (with a smile) "well, that was close. How about eggs and bacon?"
"Or cereal," he says. "I think it may be safer, as you can't get an arson charge with milk."