Written by Jodi
Cooking and I are frenemies. Through the chapters of my life, we’ve had our ups and our downs but I’m now committed to entering the kitchen without fear and facing the stove without trepidation. It’s been a long, uphill journey and I’m still climbing.
Before I met my husband, I was not what you would call a “connoisseur.” My singledom involved dinners of plain pasta with margarine, or a grilled cheese sandwich using processed cheese slices. Honestly, it wasn’t as sad as it may sound. I didn’t really think about food, and I was still in my 20s, so I didn’t feel the ill effects. Coming from a decidedly non-foodie family, where boiled veggies and meatloaf was the norm, and garlic or olive oil were mysterious and “foreign,” I had no inspiration to be adventurous with food. And I avoided cooking as much as possible. A big night of homemade comfort food for me would either be a pot of mashed potatoes (that’s it – the entire meal) or a stir fry in which I threw everything I could find (mustard, relish, tomatoes, olives, etc. It was like a stir fry hot dog!). I think I was scared off of the kitchen through the years by a few choice disasters and a mother fond of bizarre substitutions (‘the recipe calls for white wine, but we didn’t have any so I used tomatoes, obviously’).
My palate evolved through the years after the mister arrived. Now I had a good cook in the house and was much more willing to try things that I had once written off. When I had children, things really started to change. I decided to stay at home, and was the de facto cook the majority of the time. Now, as well as worrying about my own eating habits, I had to worry about my kids’. When my son was very young, I thought I had it made. He would eat anything and everything — broccoli, zucchini, and any other veg ending in “i”. Then 3 1/2 came, and all hell broke loose. “He’s testing boundaries. He’s trying out his independence,” I reassured myself through gritted teeth. Cheese, bread and pasta are about all he wants to eat, and he REFUSES to try much more. So, these are the current challenges I face in the kitchen:
- I’m not a natural-born cook
- I don’t eat red meat
- I have an incredibly picky eater
- A box of organic produce is delivered to my door each week — a lovely spread of fresh, robust fruits and veggies staring me in the face, just threatening to spoil if I don’t deal with them soon enough.
As already admitted, I was not the most adventurous soul when it came to making my own food, but I have been trying much harder, now that I have no choice. Recently I discovered that I make a delicious beet roesti (even if I end up eating 6 beets worth by myself). Somehow, it just feels good to create something with this most traditional of vegetables that was ever-present in my childhood. Grandma always made pickled beets and they were always dished out at every big family meal. Traditionally a Swiss potato dish, I made a beet-version roesti by peeling and grating the beets, mixing with flour, rosemary and salt, and cooking in a skillet with some butter. Yum! The only drawback is the red badge of honour staining your fingers (salt is good for removing this – and leaves your hands feeling really soft!). My lettuce soup experiment, however, was not so successful. It just tasted like lettuce. In a soup.
As “lettuce soup” may indicate, I’m not afraid to play with new recipes. Some culinary attempts work. Some not so much. I sometimes feel discouraged, but I am still foraging through on my journey to becoming a competent cook of interesting foods. Perhaps not a high aim, but an attainable one — I hope!Add to favorites