On cooking

When I was just beginning to cook dinners for my family I followed recipes to the letter. (I was 16 at the time. My mom got home too late to cook, and also I decided to become vegetarian so if I wanted to eat that way it was up to me to cook).

So I was this young impressionable cook. I cooked every night for my mom and brother. I created the menu, wrote the grocery list and went to the store every week with my mom. I actually enjoyed doing this! I cut coupons and everything.

Preparing food was thrilling, having everything timed out so it was all ready to be served at just the precise moment was my complete focus and I had it down like a well choreographed dance–really I twirled around from cutting board to stove to oven.

Cooking felt good. And I wasn’t afraid to try anything. I made homemade pasta and bread, I tried growing some of my own vegetables and labored over insane desserts that I’d give away to my friends.

This all gave me a lot of experience in the kitchen. And after awhile I pretty much just knew how to make things how I liked them, what seasonings to add, why certain things had to happen, which steps could be skipped, etc. until things became pretty much automatic. Trust your instincts, as I like to say.

And now here I am, still loving to cook, still thrilled to serve food to my family though now it’s my own kids and husband. It’s one of those things that I can barely describe why I like doing it so much. I just cook. Good mood, bad mood, stressed, relaxed. It does not matter, if I am awake I am probably in the kitchen. Kinda funny, isn’t it?

Even with this deep love of cooking, I still feel stuck sometimes. But the best, maybe the only way to get unstuck is to take action. Pull out some vegetables from the fridge, start chopping, look around your spice rack, get out some sauces and before you know it you’ll have made something and hopefully had some fun in the process.

How did you learn to cook? I’d love to hear your story.

5 comments… add one
  • My grandmother taught me how to cook/bake. Her mother was a pastry chef. She would tape something on the Food Network, and then when I’d get home from school she’d have the ingredients laid out and we’d make something together! Some of my best memories are with her in the kitchen 🙂

    • Steph

      That is so sweet and just lovely, Kristiana! I love it. And how smart that she laid out all the ingredients, special people really go that extra mile.

  • Good blog! I understand perfectly your passion and your journey. Many people can cook, but love it’s the main ingredient, indeed!
    I liked your comparison – cooking and a dance choreography. You’re right! One, two, three…
    Be well! 🙂
    Mona recently posted…Fail betterMy Profile

    • Steph

      Thanks Mona! I was thinking of that choreography today while writing about collaborative cooking. Tango 🙂

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