Step aside, Rachael Ray–Rachel Ram is here.
I’ve been cooking.
This week marks my fifth week of cooking. The process to begin cooking wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. It only took a few steps to get me there:
Step One: Choose to cook.
Step Two: Buy cookbook.
Step Three: Open cookbook.
Step Four: Buy foods.
Step Five: Cook aforementioned foods.
As I sat reading my cookbook and eating my cereal (no, the irony was not lost on me), I realized that my cookbook was written by the founder of Chez Panisse, a lovely place that has its roots (see what I did there?) in Berkeley. The founder and author of my book, Alice Waters, focuses on using fresh ingredients and supporting local farmers. In California, I had farmers’ markets at my disposal all the time. Now that I’m on the east coast, and in the midst of winter, no less, I’m faced with the challenge of finding fresh ingredients in a place where cooking (and living) seasonally is a thing. Anyway, as I read on, I felt more and more inspired to just step into the kitchen and create things.
Just as many marvel at the existential question of which came first (chicken or egg, chicken or egg?), I had to ask myself if the desire to cook would come before the ability, or if the ability was already innate inside of me, ready to be cracked like an egg.
I’m sorry, I can’t help the puns sometimes.
Anyway, before I dove straight into the cooking thing, I decided to start small and easy. For my birthday, my mom sent me lavender scone mix from the lavender farm in Maui, which we visited back in June 2010. All I had to do was pour the mix into a bowl, add water, and mix and form it into scones to bake. So I did. And they were goooood. Oh how I miss that farm. And their scones.
For my next creation, I made steak with mushrooms, roasted Brussels sprouts, and rice (which came out quite mushy–not pictured). This provided three sad desk lunches for that week. I also learned that three is probably my cut-off for how many days in a row I can eat the same thing.
At the end of last month, Sabrina and I took a cooking class at Sur La Table. It was really fun, and our class fee included an immersion blender. The biggest thing I learned was how to cut an onion more efficiently. I even made a stew this past weekend based on one of the recipes we used in class.
The following week, I randomly put some things together in a pan and made a stir fry. It even smelled like real stir fry, thanks to the snap peas and soy sauce.
That same weekend, I had the inspiration to make my own pizza. I bought some pizza dough and ingredients from Foodies and put everything together. And it was good. I may never buy restaurant pizza again. That actually is probably not true, but it’s a nice thought.
For my third week of lunches, I went back to simpler days and made some pasta, Italian sausages, and broccoli. Because I had a lot of leftover pasta, I concocted a pot of the pasta, tomato sauce, mushrooms, olives, and more meat for week number four.
I’ve accepted that because I’m now someone who cooks, I will probably never get the smell of raw onions off of my hands. Onions have become the essence of life. Here’s to many more months (and dare I say, years?) of cooking!