I like to cook. I’ve cooked my own meals, off and on, since I was about 6 years old. I grew up with a pretty cramped kitchen and used natural gas and a lot of cast iron cookware. I soon enough discovered the wonder of an electric wok, an electric skillet, and the microwave. As my skills grew I used a real Wok from time to time, found that I liked having really sharp knives, cutting boards, and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. I found cookbooks at Goodwills and yard sales and I actually used a lot of them. One of my favorite finds was a stack of old Gourmet magazines, which were filled with all kinds of things I had never seen or heard of before.
Dear Old Mom did her best and she cooked for the standard lot of ungrateful kids that wanted anything but what she was cooking. Mom was of that generation that believed you could never overcook anything and if you undercooked anything it would kill you. There is something to be said for proper food handling and cooking long enough to kill off the bad bacteria, but I didn’t find out what sausage tasted like until I started cooking it myself. Mom did a great job on things like fried potatoes and beans, the trouble was that she rarely left her comfort zone of fried potatoes and beans. I now know that potatoes and beans can be prepared in a bewildering number of ways. Mom knew one way and never varied it.
I have fallen into the habit of eating out most of the time. Traveling and being more than a bit lazy, I like the idea of handing over a few dollars and getting a meal I didn’t need to cook. But now I am cooking again. Having a plan helps.
My kitchen is small. Which is nice in that everything you need is within reach. Not so good is trying to organize all your ingredients and not knock things over. I am cooking the majority of my meals now, lots of new and interesting flavors using items I have not used in a good while. Things like fennel and yams and ginger root and baby bok choy and watercress and so on and so forth.
Over the years I have bought all kinds of odds and ends to do with cooking. I have a nice set of knives, though my nice sharp chef’s knife still had a bit of trouble with the sweet potatoes. I have a garlic press, a nice metal lemon squeezer, a potato peeler-something my Mom might have liked better than a pairing knife, and a few nice professional quality pots and skillets and such. I have a wok around here somewhere, but I haven’t used it in a while.
So far I am pretty happy with the meals I have prepared. It feels good to put a few of the old skill sets to work again. There was a time when I wanted to become a Chef, but then I read Kitchen Confidential and changed my mind. I still love to cook. I love that whole chopping vegetables thing. I love cooking fish and meat. I love the magic of changing semi-random items into a meal. I used to be pretty big on baking, but that’s more science than fun. And since I am not using wheat at the moment, baking is off the list of things to do anyway. So I am having fun with this, even if the kitchen is a bit on the tiny side.
My Sister-in-Law has a nice large kitchen, but I now think of it as a bit too large. Who needs all that walking from the fridge to the cutting board to the stove top? Her kitchen would be more of a circuit workout than I am looking for. But I would like my own kitchn to be a bit larger. One more thing for the Win-The-Lotto list.