Before we get cooking in here, I wanted to set the stage by explaining my relationship with cooking.
I grew up in a home where eating home-cooked meals was important. My mother and father had both grown up with those values, and they passed them along to my brothers and me. We were a fairly traditional household, where my mother did nearly all the cooking. We would come home from water polo or swim practice ravenous, and all of us would convene around the table for something delicious my mother had prepared. Occasionally my father would prepare a meal – or should I say 2o meals?! He only cooked a few things: Homemade pizza, steak with creamed corn and chili, and homemade burritos. And he did it in mass quantities so we would have leftovers and a full freezer for weeks.
My mother’s constant cooking meant that I never really had to do much cooking myself. She also baked a lot, and she would include my brothers and me if we wanted to participate, but for the most part, I became familiar with cooking not by doing it myself, but essentially by osmosis.
We were all meat-eaters growing up, and until I moved out to live on my own, I never really understood that there was another way to live. Of course I knew what vegetarians were, and I even knew a couple personally! But that had never really been an advertised option in my family, so even though I never really loved meat, I thought it was just “the way of things”.
But I did move out and live on my own. And I started doing the grocery shopping. And I had to cook for myself. I quickly realized three things:
- I was not as good a cook as my mother
- I was a horrible baker
- If I don’t like meat, I don’t have to buy it – or eat it
I slowly phased out meat, starting with the things I liked least, and finally cutting out sausage at the end. But I never could quite get myself to cut fish out of my diet. So I ended up being a Pescetarian.
At first, when I started cooking for myself, I never used a recipe. I got artistic and creative and something edible usually came out the other end (unless I was baking!). In recent years, I have started to understand the charm of a recipe, although I frequently end up using the recipe as an “ingredient list” rather than a mandatory protocol (unless I am baking!). My cooking has improved drastically since the introduction of recipes into my process.
I love to hunt Pinterest for recipes, and I have made my own cookbooks for personal use with the recipes I have collected from there, from my mother, from my own brain, and other sources.
My greatest challenges in my cooking currently are cooking for my fiance, because he eats (and loves) meat, and baking. My artistic flair and resistance to exactness still get me in trouble with baking. And lastly, I find it very challenging to motivate myself to cook as often as my mother did. Cooking in large quantities, like my father, comes easy. But sometimes I’ll go weeks without putting a true homecooked meal on the table.
I plan to document all of it here. The successes and the failures alike. And if I’m lucky, I’ll even get a few guest posts from friends, and maybe even a blog-partner down the line.