In addition to the worlds of counseling, student affairs, and rocks, one thing that I hold near & dear to my heart is cooking.
I’ve always loved to bake, and I’ve been “seriously cooking” for about five years now, or since I moved out of a college dorm and into my first true apartment. It’s been a series of ups and downs: how do I poach an egg? How do I know when meat is done? etc. I would say that until now, most of my cooking journey has been about acquiring mechanical skills (and cookware — heh), and the internet has been a truly amazing resource for that.
I think a lot of my friends & family think of me as someone who likes to cook, and who is good at it. There’s a fine delineation that I’ve always made in my head, though: I think of myself as someone who knows what I like, and I’ve gotten very good at following recipes and learning how to make those things. I think I’m ready to move on, though. I’ve spent a lot of time learning how to cook, period and now I’m ready to start learning how to cook, for me.
This includes two major goals. I want to cook more at home, and also to stop relying so heavily on recipes. I can swap ingredients if I don’t like something or I’m out of it, sure. I can make something vegetarian, or gluten-free, or [insert your food modification here]. I can even sometimes say “I think I’d like that pasta better as a pizza,” but it’s not very often, and that latter is what I’m looking to do more of. Here is an excellent Gourmet article detailing reasons food tastes better at home, and basically summarizing why I’d like to cook more, and do it right.
The second major goal is that I want to start shopping at farmers markets more often, and shopping more seasonally. Yesterday, Billy and I were at Plum Market at my mother’s suggestion (verbatim text: “In Plum Market. Have you ever been? O! M! G!!!”) when I saw some enormous dark red strawberries. I am ashamed to admit that the first thing I thought was, “so does that color mean they’re fresh or not?” Pushing a cart through the store and continuing to come back to it, I realized that there’s no excuse for being somebody who likes to cook (or even, quite frankly, being someone who’s been on this earth for 20+ years) not knowing what a naturally fresh, ripe strawberry looks like. Time to get more in touch with fresh, local food.
I have other cooking goals, but most of them are at least tangentially related (in some way or another) to these two main objectives. I am hoping to come back here often and share this journey as I get deeper into it for reasons of both documentation and accountability. I would love your feedback – cooking is deeply personal, but for me it’s not in a private way. Cooking for me inspires conversation; everyone is at different levels with different skills and everyone has different solutions for common problems. I would love to answer questions (probably rarely), get advice on the questions that I ask (probably much more often), and ponder shared questions together (hopefully most often!).