The Twentysomething’s Guide To Cooking

Okay, everyone, we’re going to start out with something nice and simple: pasta with marinara sauce. Here we go:


1.      Open a box of pasta.

2.      What do you mean you don’t have pasta?

3.      Yeah, I know “mom used to buy the pasta,” but we don’t live with mom anymore, remember? That’s why we’re all here.

4.      And it used to be shaped like dinosaurs, yes, I remember.

5.      You know that dinosaur-shaped pasta still exists, right? And that you can go out to a grocery store and buy it because you’re an adult, and you get to decide what you eat now?

6.      Well, sure, technically “deciding” that you’re just going to keep letting your mom cook for you counts as a decision, but doesn’t she live, like, two hours away now? Don’t you think that would be kind of a burden on her?

7.      “Knowing that her son still needs her is the greatest gift a boy can give to his mother?” Did you actually just say that? You know this is a cooking class, right? Not a Psycho remake?

8.      The Psycho remake was terrible, I agree. Still can’t believe someone thought Vince Vaughn could pull off Norman Bates.

9.      The type of relationship that I have with my mother is not the issue here, ok? The issue is that, when I sent out the email welcoming everyone to the group, I specifically wrote, “Please bring a box of pasta and a jar of marinara sauce to our first class.”

10.  Well, if it was so hard to find, how come everyone else brought one?

11.  Jerry didn’t bring one because he’s… Well, he’s going through some stuff right now, and pasta isn’t as cheap as it used to be.

12.  I “favor” Jerry? I bring in one extra box of pasta for a guy who told me before class that he got laid off two weeks ago, and you think that means I “favor” him? Geez, sorry for showing some compassion for the less fortunate, Speaker Boehner.

13.  It is too pronounced “Boner.” Stop kidding yourself.

14.  Oh, crap. Jerry, I’m sorry. Come on, man, don’t leave! No one cares that you lost your job! You’re at an adult cooking class at a community college, for Pete’s sake! You think the rest of us have our lives together any more than you do?

15.  Well, great, there goes Jerry. He was two credits away from graduating. Nice work, moron.

16.  Yes, you earn credits here. It’s a college. What did you expect?

17.  Wow. You are awfully condescending for a guy in a Chumbawumba t-shirt.

18.  You know what? No. You can’t have Jerry’s pasta.

19.  Because it was for Jerry, that’s why. And you, sir, are no Jerry.

20.  Oh, yeah, make a joke about his unemployment. That’s classy.

21.  Why did you even sign up for this class? It doesn’t seem like you’re that interested in cooking.

22.  You want to impress “Katy?” Who’s “Katy?”

23.  Whoa…and that’s…that’s a real picture?

24.  Hey, does she have a sister? Or a cousin, or a friend, or anything like that?

25.  All right, cool. Yeah, you know what? Why don’t you take Jerry’s pasta? It seemed like he might have been going to kill himself, so there’s no sense in letting it go to waste.

26.  And here, I’ll give you my phone number, too, just in case you have any questions between now and our next class.

27.  You should feel free to give that number out to anyone else who you think might be interested in learning how to cook, too. Or if you know anyone who’s interested in welding, I also teach a class in that.

28.  Like Katy. Katy looks like she might benefit from a little welding knowledge. Or maybe some of her friends.

29.  Mix in the marinara sauce with your pasta, and get ready to enjoy a delicious meal!



Edward Small is a contributor to The Onion and CollegeHumor. He has a green belt in cooking dinosaur-shaped pasta.


April 19: "What you see first, after the starting gun's crack, is a column of bobbing runners, thousands of them, surging downhill..."

Donna Tartt's The Goldfinch is the winner of the 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. James Parker calls this Dickensian coming-of-age novel "an enveloping…

Books, CDs, DVDs to know about now
Poems That Make Grown Men Cry

And women too.  Luminaries from Colin Firth to Nick Cave and Jonathan Franzen chose the poems that bring them to tears, and the result is a stunning collection of poignant verse from writers like Auden, Whitman, Bishop, Larkin, Neruda and many others.  Warning: choking-up hazard.

The King of Pain

Trapped beneath his entertainment system, reality TV mastermind Rick Salter reflects on his life and tries to piece together the events of the previous evening. Seth Kaufman’s romp is an outrageous meditation on pain and entertainment in a deranged world in which the two are often interchangeable.

The Good Inn

Frank Black, frontman for the Pixies, has written a transgressive historical fiction with shades of Thomas Pynchon (focused as it is on the history of explosives and cinematic pornography), all set in a hallucinatory Edwardian Europe.