Was there something new that you tried in 2013? What was it? How did it make you feel? (prompt credit: Paper Relics)
In all my years I never predicted that I would come to love cooking as much as I have. Aside from baking, it didn't seem like my parents or family members really enjoyed it, like it was more a necessity rather than something fun. The fact that it was always done against a clock (meaning there were times were there was a lot of rushing around) made me dread it for a couple of years. I didn't start seriously getting into it until I moved into an apartment on my own junior year, where I had my own space and it was much bigger. I think the first meal I ever made in it was sauted fajita meat, (microwaved) mashed potatoes, and a side of vegetables. It wasn't huge, but it was a start.
Though a lot of what I make for dinner or lunch is already pre-made (I love those frozen Bertoli skillets; they take all of ten minutes and I usually have enough for a second meal), I love the creativity that goes into it. And the more I do it, the more confident I become in my abilities. It's definitely more enjoyable when I put music on in the background; right now my go-to playlists on Pandora are the easy-listening and George Strait stations. Depending on what song is on, cooking can turn into a spiritual, almost romantic experience. Again, it's in the beauty of creation, which is more true when I'm cooking for other people. There's nothing like sharing a meal over a glass of wine with your closest friends, even if it isn't from scratch.
That's not to say that I haven't or don't want to attempt at personal creations. A couple of months back I (tried) making chicken prosciutto pasta; it was a lot of fun, but the sauce came out a little gooey so I'm wondering if I should try substituting heavy whipping cream for something else, or use a different brand of cheese. I would love to learn how to make my Dad's chili or get the recipes for my paternal grandmother's chicken and noodles and beef stew. Those aside, I love coming up with my own stuff; I just have to remember to actually write it down!
One of the best things is that there is always something new to learn; sometimes it's as simple as heating sauce on the stove as opposed to a microwave, or using different pans or seasonings or in order to give meat a little more flavor. I'm still not the best at making rice or grilled cheese, admittedly.
Despite past associations, I hope that cooking is something that I will continue to love and get better at as time goes on. I don't buy the whole "women belong in the kitchen" garbage (or whatever variation people use) and would like it to be something that my significant other and I can do together when that time comes. On a practical note, I do tend to need help with taking things out of the oven, lifting heavy pots/pans, and even chopping. So if the guy doesn't want to eat burnt pizza and before eight o'clock at night, he's going to have to lend a hand! And I say that with love and humor, if nothing else.
What about you? Do you have any off-the-wall tips for cooking? What are your favorite recipes?
photo credit: sullen_snowflakes via photopin cc