I must say that now I’m a fully capable and confident cook. But it hadn’t been that way about 6 years ago.
I’m the type of kid who lived off on my family and my mother’s kitchen. I grabbed what I could and was not choosy, I must add. I took food for granted; maybe because it was always provided. I didn’t feel any need to learn to cook; I was never prompted.
Besides, I had a lot of preoccupations while growing up – and they were mainly not located around the home, much less the kitchen.
Then it was a totally different thing when I went to the university and then got a girlfriend a few years later.
I had to learn about working around the kitchen like most male students, or suffer cafeteria food every single meal. That was the point when I was haunted by my mother’s kitchen’s smells of fresh and warm bread and herbed roasts. The aroma of brewed coffee alternately wafted in the air with whatever was inside the oven. I was often transported home with those olfactory imaginings while staring at my flat’s cold and bare kitchen.
It wasn’t long before I realized that I needed to get my hands on real food. And that meant food of “home.” I searched the internet for the food I’ve grown up with, planned my first menu, and drew my itinerary. It turned out I’d need not only ingredients but also some basic cooking equipment. And I wasn’t necessarily fully-funded.
I decided that I needed to trim down my to-buy list. I looked at some of the top rated nonstick cookware sets but realized they were outside my budget. I eventually bought a single stainless steel sauté pan, around 10 inches in diameter.
It could fry, sauté, and grill. And hear this, I cooked my pasta and made soup and sauces in there, too; though of course, they weren’t that successful. What with constantly taking care they didn’t boil and bubble over the rim. I used it as a saucepan only twice before I decided that I had to invest in a decent saucepan or pot if I was going to be serious in the cooking thing.
And serious I was. In fact, it has become a way of life for me – an enjoyable way of life, I must say. I loved going to the wet section of the supermarket, something that I detested before. In short, my university life started my love affair with cooking out of necessity. Sure beats microwaving meals out of a small dorm fridge or cooler.
I was barely making passable egg-potato salads, until I started dishing out proudly thin- crusted pizzas with mouth-watering mozzarellas.
With Rachel Ray, the Barefoot Contessa, and all the cooking shows year-round, I’ve been having more fun than I ever imagined.
Then I found myself a full-time job and much later, a family. I’ve become more creative and resourceful. Eating by myself, I was already those; but with a partner and soon a kid, I blossomed as a cook! I’ve become my mother! Spinning and whipping dish after dish after dish. I did buy more pots and pans and found a lot of good information about kitchen gear like good coolers.
I got excited about holidays, and always had a full menu prepared a month earlier. Yes, it was an occasion to showcase what I had in my arsenal; but it was mainly because I wanted to cook for the love of it. My family and friends’ appreciative noises while relishing the food I prepare are usually enough to make me want to think up about the next feast.
On an ordinary day, I love cooking still. Apart from keeping the family nourished and loving the whole process from picking up fresh herbs from the garden (yes, cooking branched out to mini-gardening, too!), I also have an unwritten privilege. I get to yell, “C’mon, I’m cooking here, get the baby outta’ here!”
And it’s not only the freedom to do that; I get quick response, too! The baby’s out in a jiffy, not even a second callout is ever needed. It’s different, of course, when you’re doing a report in your laptop and the baby is pulling all the cords. You can yell the same way, but you’d get scowled at, too.