|Just some of my cookbooks...Julia, Jacques, Alton, a few vegetarian , |
and several on the theme of 'cooking for one or two'.
Wow. I went looking for a poignant quote with which to start off this blog and found it on the first page of the Introduction of My Life in France. This was my situation exactly. As a girl I really, really didn't care about the kitchen. Well, I did learn how to make chocolate chip cookies from the recipe on the bag and cakes from box mixes, but that was about it. My teens, same thing. Even my twenties and my first marriage and the birth of my son didn't really spark it much. I managed to feed us, I guess. But it certainly wasn't memorable or anything I really enjoyed. I know I used a lot of processed foods back then....boxed macaroni and cheese, pizza rolls, TV dinners, grilled cheese sandwiches with Campbell's tomato soup...that kind of thing. Makes me cringe now thinking about it.
So on into my thirties....I married my second husband, who has some unique health issues which involve certain food intolerances. Foods that would be quite healthy for most of us are things that he cannot handle. I needed to invest some time in learning how to cook in such a way that he could eat as well as possible. But a funny thing happened...the more I read, the more interested I got. I started collecting cookbooks. Somewhere in here we got cable and I started watching Food Network and I fell in love with the likes of Alton Brown, from whom I learned quite a bit. But then I went back to college for several semesters to complete a second concentration in my major and cooking was kinda back-burnered - so to speak. When I finally completed my courses in late 2008 (YAY!), I bought myself a starter set of All Clad cookware as a graduation present. And I started spending more time in the kitchen...and collecting and reading cookbooks, related books like on health and wellness, and so on.
I've learned a lot in the last few years, but I look forward to learning a lot more. I've found that I enjoy my cooking more than most restaurant food. I also ENJOY the planning, the grocery shopping, the cooking itself and even the cleaning (but sometimes circumstances get in the way of some of that). I don't do new things every time I cook - sometimes I just need to do something with which I'm already familiar. Since I dawdled away so much time in my youth (what a waste!), I don't have a broad experience base so I don't 'shoot from the hip' very well...at least, not yet. I'm hoping that comes with practice. For now, I still need recipes, and I generally follow them as written or as suggested as an alternative.
I have collected a pretty comfortable batterie de cuisine...many choices have been guided by America's Test Kitchen research. Though I do have certain gaps....madeleine and tart pans come to mind. I have an odd fascination with kitchen pictures: food, equipment, cookware, etc. Somehow they just intrigue me...so I'll likely post a variety of pictures of my kitchen from different views here.
So, like my famous friend who I like to call "Auntie Julia", my interest in food and cooking was stirred up in my thirties. However, unlike Mrs. Child, I have no aspirations to write a cookbook. I just want to be a good home cook. Hopefully this blog will help me with that. I will not be 'cooking through' any cookbook. That would never work for us with the peculiarities in food intolerances, etc. Besides, I have SO many cookbooks, I could not ignore the majority in order to focus on one for an extended period of time. I love them all! (What you see above in only one of several bookshelves of cookbooks in my house.) I will try to work from all of them, as the mood strikes. I like to challenge myself on days when I have more time (like Saturdays), but on weeknights, I do need to be quick and efficient about just getting decent food on the table. I strive for healthy cooking, but I have never followed any 'diet' in my life. I did Weight Watchers for a couple of months, but I was eating what I would call normal food. I have never omitted or reduced carbs, or proteins, or eaten certain foods in certain combinations. I try to get a good balance, but there's always room for improvement. I will also be posting on how to do some really basic things...things that are so basic that some cookbooks don't even really address them since they think you already know them. I also want to give The Daring Kitchen a try in the near future. And I DO like occasional sweets - cookies and cakes - yummmm....
The world of blogging is still pretty new to me. I've only been reading certain blogs for several months now. Some of the people who blog have been pretty inspirational to me. I follow several listed in my profile page, but a couple of the stand-out ones for me are 'The Gourmet Project' by Teena Gerhardt Hedden and '17 and Baking' by Elissa Bernstein.