Friday, March 14, 2008

Why cook?

I remember as a new bride telling my husband that as soon as my children were old enough to tell their friends I was a good cook, I would be. My wedding shower yielding me the usual suspects of cookbooks: Betty Crocker's, Good Housekeeping's, and a subscription to Better Homes and Gardens magazine. In fact, one of my favorite bread recipes is from Better Homes and Gardens magazine from 1978 or so.

And so it began. In childhood my diet consisted of awful foods like macaroni and cheese with stewed tomatoes (yeccch!) and s.o.s. My mother was a single parent from the time I was 4 and a half and she worked full time. We ate whatever she threw together at the last minute and we didn't complain. If we didn't eat it, she served it for breakfast. Aaack.

I did not have a bowl of spaghetti, other than Chef Boyardee, until I was a junior in high school. We never had tacos, well not until the local Del Taco opened in my senior year and both my brother and I worked there. My mother was the daughter of a British immigrant and they ate British foods. No ethnic foods of any sort. Sometimes on a Friday payday we'd run down to the local greasy spoon and buy 10 hamburgers for a dollar. We'd each get two and split a large coke. When she began dating a guy when I was twelve pizza entered our world.

But, I digress. As soon as I began dating the big guy (all 6 feet four inches of him) my food odyssey began. He took me to the only real Italian place in town. The owners were friends and they were from Italy. The Pride of Italy was the most amazing place I had ever eaten. Real meatballs. Real pasta. Ricotta cheese. Wow. It was delicious. I dreamed of being able to cook like that someday.

When I read on other blogs about women not being able to cook, it saddens me just a bit. Cooking is not hard. It just takes practice. Yes, there are those talented few that don't need to practice, it just happens for them, but most people can cook with a little effort. But then again there are plenty of stories out there talking about the newlyweds trying out their first smoker, their first fondue set and their first organic dinner and it makes me smile.

So we'll begin a little journey. I'm going to put up a few recipes and techniques to help you become more food savvy in the next couple of weeks. It should give you a good foundation to begin on your own too. Like Katie says, "Cooking for someone is loving someone!"