Josh thought it would be a mark to my credibility to write down my most major cooking screw-ups. Obviously, people being sadists, they would love to hear about all of my cooking mistakes (and oh, do I remember each one acutely).

Here is one for you. Never, ever ever ever, and I never say never, but really –

Just don’t ever make butternut squash soup using the recipe on the Food Network.

I followed the recipe. I followed it diligently. I lift a spoon to my lips and it tastes…all right. Kind of bland, but very squashy. Kind of…aftertaste. My mouth makes a funny shape and I unconsciously start scraping my tongue off with my teeth.

“Housemate!” (Josh is not yet home at this hour, so housemate is my guinea pig.) “Housemate, come taste this. See if there’s something wrong with it.”

Housemate comes bounding out, as usual delighted to be my guinea pig. Apparently he didn’t hear the part where I said, see if there’s something wrong with it.

He looks at what’s there. “Huh.” I hand him a spoon.

“It’s….all right….” is the verdict a few minutes later.

Salt! Salt will fix this! I salt it again and let it boil some more. After all, salt will bring out the delicious squash flavors, and that will – should – heaven I hope – mellow out that aftertaste.

How foolish. Salt is indiscriminate. It made all the flavors more intense, and now the aftertaste is more punguent, more all-consuming, and more vile than ever. I grimace and go fetch myself a glass of milk. A sadist myself, and not one to suffer alone, “Housemate! See if this tastes better!”

He comes out. He tastes. He, like I so shortly before, nearly retches. I hand him the glass of milk and say, “Cheesy Hashbrowns or Stroganoff?”