Sunday, September 13, 2009
There is hope for me yet!
I have been cooking lately. Yes, going beyond salads and the microwave!
I have been partly inspired by a biography of Julia Child...mind you, I have made it clear that I will never make dishes with 1) that much butter, 2) more than 20 ingredients, or 3) that take hours and hours to make.
See, I never learned to cook because I always equated it with being Donna Reed, not feminist, etc. Which I realized a few years ago, was asinine.
Also, as you have probably figured out from reading this blog, I usually do not attempt things I cannot do really, really well, or preferably better than anyone else. I'm very competitive with myself. This is why, in the past, I have not attempted to cook, learn graphic design, or become a handwriting instructor.
In the past, I have had an angel food cake explode in my oven - and subsequently catch on fire; I have ruined alfredo sauce thinking I could make a low-fat version with half-and-half (actually making a watery version); I've baked brownies that stuck together so badly my coworkers asked if I had made a science experiment.
I still don't see the point of cooking for one. However, when I met Mr. RK, we both realized we needed to learn how to cook, and pronto. So far, this has meant fixing a limited number of dishes, but recently I have extended myself to things that take more than half an hour to prepare.
I have resigned myself to the fact that I will never be (nor do I want to be) a gourmet chef. I will be happy with being a reasonably good cook, and not poisoning anyone.
Stupidly, my whole life, I have thought that cooking was an inborn talent; if you're a good cook, I reasoned, everything comes out right the first time. I had no idea that it took - even required - trial and error, that not everything would come out right the first time. Pheromone Girl, who is quite an accomplished cook, said, essentially, "But of course!"
I did not know, until I read the biography, that at first, Julia Child was a terrible cook. Chicken fat on the wallpaper, raw meat because it wasn't cooked properly, entire dishes in the garbage.
However, her husband, Paul, was encouraging, telling her that, "I'm sure you will become a wonderful cook, because you are so interested in food."
I am not terribly interested in food, but I am always interested in a challenge, and that is how I am treating this. It's an adventure, and sometimes a successful one; in the past week, I have come up with good recipes for broccoli cheese soup and pollo asado with mojo criollo sauce - and that was tricky, because I'm a vegetarian. But I was thrilled when Mr. RK, who has offered to be my culinary guinea pig, said my first-time pollo asado was better than the kind he orders at one of our favorite Mexican restaurants.
Sometimes the result (see above picture) is even pretty.
Next is Thai peanut sauce. The first recipe tasted like a vinegary, soy saucy, nasty concoction (and I followed the recipe), so next I'm trying something with coconut milk and ground red pepper.
Wish me luck.