K is for Kitchen

A garden bounty Photo Credit: Doree Weller

A garden bounty
Photo Credit: Doree Weller

I have a love-hate relationship with my kitchen.

The women in my family don’t cook. It’s not that we can’t; it’s just that we’re not really good at it. We’re bakers. My grandmother, mom, and I can bake anything, but we’re less consistent with meals. I’ve heard stories of my grandmother’s awful cooking. Fortunately, my dad mostly cooked, so I didn’t have to deal with my mom’s cooking often. As for me, I could make food, and it was usually edible. When my husband and I got married, we shared some of the cooking responsibility, but mostly we ate out a lot.

Flash forward many years, and because of some health issues, I decided that I needed to transition to a more vegetarian diet. That made it harder to eat out, and eating out kind of defeated the idea of eating healthier anyway. I expected to be an unimaginative cook when I first started cooking more, and I was. It wasn’t long before I got bored.

Thank goodness for Allrecipes, Chocolate Covered Katie, and Pinterest. Through them, I was able to broaden my repertoire of foods. Things got even better for me once I applied the same principles of baking to my cooking. It drives the husband crazy because I can seldom make anything the exact same way twice. I’m not much for exact measurements, and I almost always forget to follow recipes exactly. But they turn out well, so he can’t complain. Much.

Since I’ve learned to adapt what I make, I also love Pioneer Woman’s recipes. She’s a meat-eater, but with a little creativity, I can modify many of her recipes to suit my needs.

My gas cooking range, once intimidating, is now something I wouldn’t want to do without. These days, I’m actually known as a really good cook! Even meat-eaters like what I make.

Cooking still isn’t my favorite thing to do, but I don’t hate it anymore. These days, my kitchen and I get along just fine.

Be Careful What You Wish For

My former garden had some incredible veggies!  That's a 55 pound dog for reference!

My former garden had some incredible veggies! That’s a 55 pound dog for reference!

I’m not fond of cooking.  The problem is that I like eating, I like knowing what is in my food, and I like high quality food.  When you add all that up, it means that I get to cook.  I really didn’t want to have to cook all the time, and fervently wished to eat other people’s cooking.

In the weeks leading up to my move, cooking got less and less feasible, as I was trying to make sure everything got done.  Then we drove to Texas over the course of two days.  By the time we pulled into Texas on Monday, I was ready to get set up and start cooking again.  The only problem was that my new refrigerator wasn’t set to be delivered until Thursday.  But I could live with a couple more days, right?

Then we found out that our fridge is apparently special order, and won’t be here until Tuesday!  So I have all of Labor Day weekend without a fridge!  We’ve been using a small cooler to keep a few things on hand, like coffee creamer and yogurt so that I have some breakfast, but I want salad.  And maybe some fajitas.  Lentil loaf with baked potatoes and asparagus sounds awfully good too!

I’m sorry I said I didn’t want to cook anymore, really.  I’m sorry I wished to eat food others made, really.  I promise, I’ll keep my mouth shut in the future!

(Okay, no, I probably won’t.)

F is for Food

DSCN3492I hate to cook.  But I love to eat, and am a picky eater.  Growing up, I’d eat anything.  I never thought of myself as a particularly picky eater.  Except, I never really liked meat.  Then when I left home, I realized I didn’t really like rice.  Or pasta.  Or milk.  Or most sweets.  (I should be a size 0, right?)

When I went flexetarian, I realized I was going to have to cook.  And guess what… it sucks just as much as I thought it would.  My method is to spend one of my days off cooking two large meals, and that’s what we eat for the rest of the week.  I’ve reluctantly admitted that I’m a good cook.  And it’s really unfortunate that I like my cooking more than I like pre-made food.

I cook so much these days that I had to go out and buy a binder and start printing off recipes from the internet.  Pinterest, Chocolate Covered Katie, Pioneer Woman, and general internet searches are my go to places for food.  The other day, a friend of mine mentioned that she was in the mood for beef stroganoff.  It sounded good, so I googled “vegetarian stroganoff.”  I made a stroganoff with mushrooms that was so good that I almost licked my plate.  The nice thing about cooking with recipes from the internet is that often other people comment on the recipe and add their two cents, taking the tweaking out of the recipe so you don’t have to!

Recently, I was able to use a bunch of veggies from my garden, which is a really good feeling.  Cooking my own food with stuff I’ve grown organically feels really healthy.  Now, if only I can get rich so someone else can cook for me, I’d be set!

Foods of the Future

Yes, that’s rattlesnake meat. It wasn’t bad.

I recently started re-reading the Little House on the Prairie books.  I probably haven’t read them since I was little, and I’m not sure I read them all back then.  One of the parts of the book I find intriguing is Laura’s descriptions of the food they ate and how it was prepared.  I’ve heard of head cheese before, but didn’t actually know what it was.  Ew.  They ate beef back then, but do you think any of them could have dreamed up a hamburger?

I read an interesting article predicting food trends of the future.  This is actually something I’m curious about, both as a writer and as someone who takes environmental issues seriously.  Will people start eating less meat in the future?  Or will people find a way to continue their current diets?  Will certain foods we consider staples go up in price?  Will we be eating any unfamiliar foods in 50 years?

This article only talks about five predicted food trends, but I learned something.  For instance, did you know they can grow meat in a laboratory now?  I’m not talking about the whole animal… just the meat.  Ew.  But it’s definitely worth reading.