Since food in all its forms is a big part of what I this site is about, I figure you should have some background on my relationship with food (a long and healthy one).
When I lived at home, I never cooked or baked and staunchly swore any baking in my future home would be store-bought. For a slightly-OCD person such as myself, certain things were just too much – the feel of butter and eggs on my fingers, the pouf of flour or icing sugar going everywhere when you turn on the beaters, and pretty much anything else to do with the mess of baking. As for cooking, my mom is a fabulous cook so that was not an area I ever had to worry about – I came home from work or school to dinner on the table or a plate saved in the fridge; I was spoiled and I loved it.
When I got married and moved out, and discovered just how much of my time and energy was going to be spent preparing and eating food, and saw no foreseeable end to this pattern, I decided to embrace everything about it.
As for recipes, I have become one of those people who can never leave well-enough alone. I am constantly tweaking recipes or making up my own, as I’ve come to realize that recipes are made to be personalized! Although I will, naturally, be personally offended if you find any of my recipes less-than-perfect and try to alter them.
My pictures are nothing to write (or email?) home about, but quite honestly I’m not too interested in photography and don’t want to invest in a fancy camera whose features I have no interest in fully understanding. That’s my sister’s domain, and she is fabulous. But when I cook I do always like to know what my end goal is and I’d never buy a cookbook without pictures, so I try to always include a picture or two to give you an idea right away of where I’m going with the directions.
My philosophy about cooking can basically be summed up through this:
I was watching the Food Network one day and my hubby walked in while the chef was making soup. “Hey!” he exclaimed, “That guy is making soup just like you do!”
Well, once I picked my laughing self up off the floor, I explained that this is simply the basic way soup is made. Neither he nor I was doing anything revolutionary by chopping vegetables with a big knife, and making a stock with some celery, carrots, onions, and herbs. But to someone who doesn’t cook, it is assumed that this is a special and difficult technique! (Thinking back, perhaps I should have nodded seriously rather than disillusioning him about my skills…)
So if you think “I can’t cook”, believe me, unless something is physically holding you back, you’re wrong. Anyone can cook. Great chefs have no special magic, just a love and awareness of food and its flavours, and a healthy dose of “Let’s see!” attitude that can take things to new heights. So feel free to experiment, to create, and to fail! Keep a box of KD and a can of tuna in the cupboard for that night when it just doesn’t work, who cares!
Given how much time we spend eating, and what a social and enjoyable thing it can be, it’s worth taking time to make food you love that looks pretty too. It may take you awhile the first time, but “no time” is a lousy excuse – it takes 20 minutes or less (plus some cooking time when you can get a million other things done) from start to finish to make muffins, squares, cookies, pasta, rice…so many things. And your house will smell great too!
A lot of my recipes are everyday meals and snacks – things I’m making anyways that I think anyone could enjoy! I work on a tight budget (think student budget with two little mouths to feed) so you won’t see many fancy ingredients or requirements like “real vanilla beans ONLY”, but at the same time healthy, ideally local, food is a priority, even if it means fewer new clothes and no fancy holidays.
You’ll also see a fair share of blatantly unhealthy foods…I love baking, and dark chocolate, butter and brown sugar are my 3 favourite food groups, requiring at least 1 serving per day for maintaining good mental health.
We need to eat. Why not eat the best tasting food we can and actually enjoy preparing it for ourselves and our families?