I think the a big part of cooking successfully is paying attention. There have been times in my life when I have been really into cooking. There have also been those times when I am just not that interested and it is easy to get distracted. Distracted cook = failed dishes.
I remember a time I was in a drug store with my first husband. I found him looking at greeting cards. He had one in his hand and his efforts to keep himself from guffawing loudly had his whole body in a kind of concerning tremor. The card face: I wanted to get you something useful for your birthday. Inside the card: but you already have a smoke detector.
Yeah, so amusing.
I did manage to get through Thanksgiving dinner without burning anything, although the mashed potatoes were not hot enough. The next day I set of the alarm with burnt toast.