08 September 2009

Why Cooking and I are not quite friends

I think my disinterest in cooking started when I was in 5th grade. I had to bring a dish to school that represented the country we were doing a report on. I vaguely remember that I had chosen Greece. And I was pretty sure that the dish I had picked out to make wasn't exactly Greek. Like all of Toula's relatives from My Big Fat Greek Wedding would chastise me about it not being Greek.

But why did that kill my interest in cooking? Because it didn't turn out right.

I remember growing up in France and baking Gateau au Yaourt (yogurt cake). It was a kid's recipe that someone had written out for me with little pictures. Or at least that's what I recall. I loved making that cake and also enjoyed devouring it.

The extent of my time in the kitchen usually was around baking. Baking wasn't scary. Baking also resulted in delicious results.

So when I took to trying to make the dish for my 5th grade class and it didn't come out like the picture, I was discouraged. I didn't understand why it didn't work.

My next stint in the kitchen was when I was in 8th grade and we were having a mock Seder meal during Passover. I went to a Catholic school and it was interesting learning about matzoh. I volunteered to bring deviled eggs. I don't remember why that was part of the meal, but it was. And I was pretty sure I didn't even like deviled eggs, so I added all kinds of cayenne pepper and paprika. Apparently everyone liked them. Of course, I wouldn't know because I never tried them.

Pretty much since then, I've been uninterested in getting my hands dirty in the kitchen. I got through college on dorm fodder and frozen food. Even when I was studying abroad in France, and cooked for myself, I hardly made anything from scratch. I delighted in things of convenience. And French produce and food just tastes that much fresher. I'm thinking they are not down with the preservatives.

So now I find myself married and needing to feed myself and my husband. We've done the frozen food thing. We've done the eating out thing. I'm over frozen food and eating out adds up in dollars and calories. And so all signs are pointing to home cooking. Which I'm finally interested in!

Since getting engaged, my interest in cooking has blossomed. While I haven't taken on too many recipes, I'm taking baby steps to cooking. I don't want to frustrate myself to the point where I don't want to do it anymore. I'm a grownup now and we don't have a cook.

Here's my first "from scratch" success: My mom's spaghetti sauce.

Dear Cooking,

Will you be my friend? I promise to learn.

I think we could be great friends.


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