First Thing’s First
September 14, 2010
During my upbringing, I was surrounded by family restaurants. One would think that I would have picked up some pretty sweet moves in the kitchen growing up in a restaurant. Au contraire mon cher! The only thing I picked up was the expectation of food magically appearing in front of me and leaving the mess for someone else to deal with. Reality hit hard when I realized that it wasn’t normal to have someone else do the cooking, clearing of dishes, cleaning up the cook’s mess, etc. Not to mention that if you wanted someone else to do it for you, you had to pay! No, no… I had to do things myself. And, not just part of it, ALL of it. Since I was a poor college student and could not afford to eat out every night or hire a chef, I was quick to take the easy way out. I quickly learned that “cooking” wasn’t difficult at all. Nearly everything came prepared. You pretty much just had to add water and dinner is ready! Like so many college students (and young adults), I was falling into a very dangerous habit. Then, I met Lou (my husband). He lived in the dorms, but he bought “real” food. He introduced me to cooking with real ingredients, or as I like to call them, bona fide bites!
I’ll never forget the day he suggested we make pancakes. I went to my kitchen cabinets and looked for the Bisquick, but it was no where to be found. I told him I couldn’t make pancakes because I was all out of the mix. He looked at me like I was crazy and informed me that you don’t need a mix to make pancakes. Now, I’m not stupid. I knew you didn’t need a mix, but I had never made pancakes without it, so I assumed it was difficult. You know what they say about assuming… After I made my first batch of bona fide pancakes, I couldn’t help but wonder “why do they even sell a mix!?” It didn’t take long for me to realize that much of what I was “cooking” from mixes and boxes were just as simple to make from scratch. Plus, when you make it yourself, you know what is going into it. It was a real eye opener for me.
Now, eight years later, I find myself needing to take my cooking skills to the next level. My husband is a great cook. He has skill when it comes to food and taste. His senses are heightened to the point that he can smell a dish and tell you what ingredients are in it. It’s frightening really. I’ve seen him come downstairs when I am making something and say, “I smell cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and clove.” And, sure enough, I am making something with all the ingredients he listed. His nose knows.
I’m not a bad cook. I can follow a recipe pretty well. But, I’m not where I want to be. I don’t fully understand food or the science behind it. I can’t look at a group of ingredients and know what to make. I need something in front of me to tell me what to do, step-by-step. I am beginning a journey of food enlightenment with this blog. Here, I will share my findings. I hope you enjoy reading about my bona fide bites.