I am very far from Iron Chef status. But I’m starting to feel like I might at least have graduated to some form of metal. 😛
Since moving into our new house, I have actually done the Cooking Thing a fair bit — way more than I ever have before, that’s for certain. A few recipes I already knew; a lot more I pulled out of a cookbook and said “this sounds like it might be tasty.” Some I’ve even modified, like the ramen stir-fry where the recipe wound up being more what you might call guidelines than actual rules. (It was from a cookbook published in 1996; I used whatever fresh vegetables sounded tasty in place of the broccoli-carrot-cauliflower frozen “stir-fry mix” they recommended, teriyaki sauce in place of “stir-fry sauce,” and let’s just say that when you’re shopping at a Japanese grocery store in 2016, “oriental flavor” ramen is not one of the options on the shelf.)
A number of things have contributed to my increased willingness to cook:
* Having enough counter space that step one of making dinner is not “clear crap out of the way so I have somewhere to work.” This makes a huge difference all on its own, believe you me.
* Having enough cabinet and drawer space that I can lay my hands on the item I need without first having to move twelve other things out of the way. Ditto previous comment.
* Having a grocery store within pleasant enough walking distance that obtaining what I need for dinner that night is a nice excuse to get out of the house and move around a bit, rather than a chore.
* Having three (or sometimes more) people to cook for instead of just two.
* Having my sister around to help. This is a double benefit, since first of all, she acts as my sous-chef: I find the preliminary “cut stuff up” stage of making dinner to be entirely tedious, while she’s much more willing to do that part than the actual cooking, which means our inclinations pair up well. Also, her presence means that I have company while I’m cooking, instead of being stuck off in the kitchen bored out of my skull and wishing I was doing something I cared about more.
So I’m still not a gung-ho chef by any means, interested in the cooking for its own sake.
I am still prone to going “meep” and deciding a recipe sounds too complicated for me, even though I know many of my friends could do it in their sleep. But we’ve made a variety of different meals and show all signs of going on to make more, instead of defaulting back to pre-prepared stuff as often as possible. And I’m even developing a few instincts, like “I’ve doubled this recipe, but I don’t think I need to double the liquid; yeah, a little more than usual looks like enough” or “I think the turkey cuts need to be thinner next time” or “this was fine, but would probably be better if I browned the sausage first.”
I’ve made a tag for cooking-related content, so those of you who do really enjoy cooking, expect the occasional post wherein I will ask for advice on modifying recipes or what have you.