Written by: Jenny
I've always described myself as someone who can't cook. Yep, ha ha -- I'm good for some mac and cheese or Shake 'n Bake. But, like to REALLY cook something... nope. Never. No way. You might die if you eat it.
The funny thing is that my mother is probably one of the world's best in the kitchen. Everything she makes is fabulous. She owns about 700 cookbooks (I'm only slightly exaggerating). She's one of those who can take a look in the pantry and make a fabulous, gourmet meal out of five completely random ingredients.
Me? Not so much. The best I can do in that area would be a bowl of cereal with a banana on top for an extra little 'something'.
So, for YEARS, she's been encouraging me and buying me cookbooks that promptly go on the pretty shelf in my kitchen, never to be opened, only to dust.
Well, NEW YEAR! New me! One of my resolutions was to cook (like, really cook... from scratch sort-of-stuff). I know we're only a week in, but I have already made a delicious chicken dish, some 'freaky Greek pasta' and chicken salad with toasted almonds (I toasted them myself!)
My husband has rolled his eyes at me more this week than ever. As we've dined on these fabulous meals (honestly -- they all tasted amazing!) I kept punching him in the arm asking him, 'Is it good? Do you like it?!' Then following that up with, 'I MEAN RIGHT??? It's so good! Wow, I made this, can you believe it?!' Followed by the eye roll.
Last night he laughed and said, 'Do you think all chefs brag this much about their dishes?' I replied with, 'OMG you called me a CHEF!'. Cue eye roll.
Here's my point. I DID THIS! YOU CAN DO THIS! I mean, I'm no dummy. I can read and follow a recipe. But, there are tricky little things in recipes... like lingo that only real cooks know. How to work with fresh garlic... kosher salt (I literally just learned what this was five days ago)... add spices 'to taste' (NO! I need specific measurements only.) So, I still have a lot to learn in that department. But, I found a fantastic cookbook that breaks it ALL down. Jessica Seinfeld's 'The Can't Cook Book: Recipes for the Absolutely Terrified!'. She had me at 'terrified'.
I love it because she breaks down every single thing. From pans to how to zest a lemon (I totally did that this week!) I'll read something like, 'boil the chicken' and think about closing the book because I don't know how to do that. Then, boom. It's like she can read my mind -- 'go to page 32 for how to boil chicken'. It's like she was in my head when she wrote this masterpiece.
I figured something out about myself this week. Yes, I'm terrified of many things in the kitchen. But, I'm also scared of the grocery store! So many times, I'd find a recipe, make a list of what I needed (which seemed to be almost everything because I do not have a great stash of spices and such), I'd go to the store and have an anxiety attack because I couldn't even find half of the things I needed!
So, this brings up the next life-changing event in my life since 2017 began... GROCERY DELIVERY. I used Hy-Vee. If you have not discovered this ridiculously FANTASTIC idea... log-in today! Let me say it again. Life. Changing. I just typed up things I needed like 'fresh thyme' and... VOILA! My personal shopper at Hy-Vee did the work for me and it just showed up at my freaking front door! Who. Knew. (Well, probably everyone who cooks on a regular basis. Hey, I'm learning!) Could not have been easier. AND, bonus -- I feel like I saved money because I didn't buy a bunch of stuff I didn't need. Only the necessities.
So, while it's only been a week and I'm definitely not ready to whip up some unique, self-thought-of, awesome concoction -- I am excited to keep going, trying, learning and surprising myself.
Can I just say that I have actually ENJOYED my time in the kitchen? I found a lot of it relaxing and the best part was looking at my final product. I may or may not have take some pictures. Ok, I totally did. Look at this pasta dish I whipped up!
I read something recently about New Year's Resolutions. The gist was that if you start calling yourself something like 'I'm a RUNNER'. Even though you have never run any further than from your car to Target. You will become it. Start calling yourself what you desire to be!
Guess what y'all? I'm a chef.
Believe it. Become it.
Happy New Year.