September 30, 2013 at 6:47 am

Maureen Tisdale

Let's Talk Food (and maybe win a book): What dishes give you cooking trouble?

'How to Slice an Onion' was written by Bunny Crumpacker, who has one of my favorite names for a cook ever. (Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press)

There used to be a show on Food Network called “How To Boil Water.” I respect that; as much as I enjoy cooking, as I shared in the introduction to Let’s Talk Food, I am hardly the greatest cook.

That’s one of three reasons “How to Slice an Onion” by Bunny Crumpacker caught my eye: I respect a book that speaks to cooks like me. (The other reasons? Our story on onion dishes last week gave me onions on the brain, and the author’s name, Bunny Crumpacker — what a name for a cook!)

My cooking Achilles’ heel is meat. I can season it fine, even butcher it some. But it is an exception to the rule — and a miracle — when I don’t overcook it. We have two meat thermometers that don’t seem to tell the truth, and despite my husband practically begging me to “just trust the time!” I almost invariably cave into that moment of fear — what if it’s undercooked and we get sick??? — and set us up for a week of chew, chew, chewing. I’ve even managed to dry out meat in a slow-cooker — impressing my husband, who didn’t think it could be done.

I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in having recurrent cooking challenges. So for a crack at “How to Slice an Onion” (subhead: Cooking Basics and Beyond), tell me about your cooking struggles (and if applicable, how you overcame them) in the comments below, then send an email to Eats& with “Struggles/Onion” in the subject line and your name and mailing address in the body. Enter only once by midnight Oct. 3. A winner will be chosen from among entries, with preference given to those who comment below. (If it’s Oct. 4, 2013, or later when you read this, the book will have been given away — but feel free to add your comments.)

Now to find a book called “How to Have the Courage Not to Overcook Meat ...”

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