“Cooking is like Love- it should be entered with abandon, or not at all”- Julia Child
Learning how to cook should be easy right? Many people cook every night, and different meals at that! I have watched friends meticulously plan monthly meals for their families as if they are working for a Michelin rated restaurant and going for that third star. My friend Mandy may can cook you a delightful halibut chowder, slicing and dicing all while smiling : Isn’t this fun!
Typically, I just stand in the corner and pour the wine….
My mother and (father) were very good cooks and although my mom worked full time and had three kids there was always something delicious (and nutritious) on the table. I was a picky eater when I was younger, and that seemed to carry on through my adult life. From ages 5 to about 7 I ate a white diet, meaning only things that were white. Often my parents would set me free in the Sizzler Salad bar where I would fill my plate with pasta, parmesan, taco shells, white cheese, cauliflower and cottage cheese. No growing child could sustain themselves on a diet such as this so eventually I gave in…learning to eat (and love) most things…I still to this day just can’t do red spaghetti sauce, but this is more because I feel like I have to hold on to some semblance of my former self.
My very first cookbook (I kid you not) was called “My First Microwave Cookbook”. I was so good a microwave egg in a cup and microwave grilled cheese and at the ripe age of 7 I had decided that I was “master of the microwave”. Gleefully, I would make my little brothers egg sandwiches to take to school that McDonalds would envy. I would rush to put on my apron every time I heard the beep of the buttons.
Then came college- I would help my mom in the kitchen, but I was rarely needed to prepare a whole meal of food on my own. I would watch the vegetable cutting the searing of minced meat, but one year of living in the dorms and it was like I had lost any idea of how to cook. I wanted to cook…I really did! I bought every Bisquick recipe leaflet I could get my hands on at the Safeway Checkout…I would read the instructions carefully- drooling over “Impossibly easy taco pie” and “Garlic Cheese Biscuits”…but cooking from this cookbook meant having endless supply of Bisquick and I soon found that these recipes were not only fattening but quite elementary.
As I grew out of what I would like to call the “Bisquick phase” of my life- I pretty much gave up my dreams of cooking- the recipes in Gourmet magazine were far too complicated and took way too much time
I mean do people really spend 5 hours cooking one thing? I scoffed to myself.
I decided to put cooking on the backburner…I opted for easy microwaved options or the old standbys- pasta and sauce…or a salad.
The thing is…I really love to cook…I just don’t really know where to begin.
One day I saw it….
A beautiful Le Creuset Dutch oven. It was a lovely kelly green…it called to me from the back of Williams and Sonoma…I spoke to me more than the Microwave Cookbook, now tattered and covered in egg drips, more than my favorite heart shaped apron…I ran my hand over the sleek pot and peeked inside hoping that with it came some idea of what to make….
I held this cast iron Dutch oven in my hands for quite some time…I envisioned roasts, chicken tetrazzini (whatever that is), happily serving my friends and family my thought provoking and artfully prepared dishes.
I got this pot home and Jay and I stared at it lovingly-I got to work…
I poured a few table spoons of oil…
A cup of popping corn…
I closed the lid and began to shake…
We smiled at each other with delight…
He said to me:
You’ll make such a good mom, you make cooking fun!
Later that day I sat down with my cooking bible: What to Cook and How to Cook it.
I opened the first page and decided…I would start with the first recipe… we all have to start somewhere right?