Back to basics

15 Jun

For this week, I had a whole post prepared about my elation with John Goodman losing 100 pounds and then a second post about my new reality/game show idea, So You Want to Be a Duggar. Then I realized that, with those two posts, I was getting away from the point of this blog. And that’s not a good thing.

When I started this blog, I did so with the intent of teaching people all the skills I wished I had when I first had my own kitchen. I set out to provide recipes, cooking tips and suggestions and how to eat well on a small budget (and sometimes, a little anecdote about how I became the cook I am today).  A few posts here or there about random cooking thoughts that I had were OK, but I’ve noticed that lately, they seem to dominate the blog.

While it’s fun to write about candy or what The Office can teach us about eating frugally, that information doesn’t do much for someone who doesn’t know how to boil water or someone who needs to feed a family of 4 on $40 a week. So to you, my readers, I apologize for getting away from the core mission of this blog. My intention is that this post serves as a return to that mission.

2008 04 23 - Russett - Pasta, sauce & beef (preparation) by thisisbossi.Cooking is not an easy skill to master. It took me an exceptionally long time to even build moderate proficiency in the art of cooking (seriously, we’re talking about 6 or 7 years). I still struggle with it. While I can follow a recipe with incredible skill and precision, for the life of me, I cannot look at a bunch of raw ingredients and come up with something remotely edible, never mind delicious. I envy those who can come up with their own recipes! But I’m OK with that. Because cooking is so much more than creating unique and wonderful dishes. It’s about the process.

The whole learning process of cooking is emotionally gratifying.  It all starts with the excitement of buying (or receiving via hand-me-down) your own dishes, silverware, cookware and utensils and ends with the very first meal you produce.  There’s something about finding that perfect easy recipe with pronounceable and recognizable ingredients (that are also found in the supermarket!) that provides a sense of accomplishment. There’s something satisfying about combining all those ingredients and producing a home cooked meal. And there’s something about hearing “Wow! This is really good” that makes it all worthwhile.

In addition to the emotional satisfaction that comes with learning to cook, there’s actually academic learning that occurs. My math skills (which are sub-par) have improved dramatically since I’ve learned to cook. I can now add, subtract and convert fractions like nobody’s business! I have learned a whole host of new words like braise and ramekin. I have learned practical skills like better kitchen organization, time management and money management. I would not have gained most of these skills had I never learned to cook.

Cooking is more than just a way to eat. It is a crucial life skill that breeds other life skills; life skills that I hope to pass along.  Because if I save just one person from a lifetime of styrofoam containers and doggie bags, or helped one family stretch a small grocery budget, I will have achieved my goal.

*A note regarding the picture: While I am not in the habit of cooking ground beef, this is the most descriptive picture I could find to visually convey my point. If anyone is offended by the picture, I am sorry.


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