I figured out the reason why I don't cook very well. It's all about physics and my borderline OCD with being organized.
I did, of course, cook all of my life although frankly I was never very good at it. In my younger days as a busy working Mom I did a lot of Hamburger Helper and lackluster spaghetti meals. I seldom thought things through beyond quick preparation and getting it on the table.
In my middle age and early senior years I had time to slow down and give my culinary skills some thought and practice.
Two things kept me away from cooking mastery. One, my husband was a meat and potatoes man who hated anything vegetable or including eggs or containing any sort of pasta.
It wasn't that the man didn't enjoy food; he did. He loved spicy food and certain Chinese beef dishes. Mostly he wanted a small slab of meat, preferably fried, a tiny spot of perhaps potatoes or rice and a bread product of some sort would be fine.
I spent those years perfecting and preparing meals to suit HIM. Oh I managed to make the meats to please me but bottom line, we ate what HE liked for lack of time and energy to prepare separate meals. MY taste was his for most of those years but, alas, I lost him last year.
After the shock, then the grief, then the gradually reduced pain of loss, I realized I had to eat and with a bit of serendipity, I could now eat with concern for no one else but myself.
Which means I had to learn to cook to suit myself.
Besides cooking to please myself, a whole new world of entertaining opened up for me as husband was a bit of a loner and beyond close family, we rarely had company.
So I consider myself a sort of beginner cook but one willing to learn. I vowed to not let anything else pass my lips that I didn't like.
First I had to learn how to fry an egg.
Indeed husband thought eggs were chicken boogers and to consume an egg was to eat snot. In all of the 25 years of my marriage I never fried a single egg. Ever so often I'd order two fried eggs over easy when eating in a diner but those occasions were few and far between. Because of husband's egg aversion, it never occurred to me to fry eggs at home.
The ideal fried egg, by my admittedly non-picky standards, should have a somewhat runny yolk. The white should be firm, ideally a little crisp around the edges.
Well I thought all I had to do was break those puppies open into a frying pan covered in melted butter and soon enough I'd have some fine fried eggs.
First, it takes waaaaay longer to fry an egg than I thought. This is where my OCD comes in. Because life is too short and since we live in a multi-task world I think we should be doing two things at a time, preferably three things.
Thus I crack the eggs and drop them into the pan of melted butter and walk away. While they fry, so goes my thought process, I'll play a game of Candy Crush.
It's no matter that I have a fine computer "command center" set up in my kitchen and am right near the stove. Also, about that pan of butter….nope, don't want to do that. Oh sure, a pat of butter or thereabouts but put too much butter in the pan and you are BOILING the eggs, not frying.
It was turning the egg over that put a dent in my culinary adventure. Because while I want the yolk slightly runny, my yolks were turning out like yellow egg yolk fondant, which is okay, but you can't dip a piece of toast in it.
I'm still working on frying the eggs perfectly for my taste. I am also working on mastering dishes I really like, scaling them down for one person or testing their freezer-worthiness.
In short, it's a culinary adventure of sorts and I'm going to document my journey, my NY's resolution to become a good cook, to learn to TASTE what I'm cooking, to use CORIANDER for God's sake as the TV Chef's use Coriander in everything.
Read all about it here.
Ending With a Smile