Friday, May 22, 2015

My Credibility as a Chef

So, you might wonder, what qualifies me to consider myself a cook? A foodie? An expert? What's my professional training?

I have none.

Probably doesn't surprise you, right? I bet most of us don't have any professional training. Don't ask me the best way to cut an onion, because my way might not be the correct way. I'm self-taught. (Unless you count the awesome semester of home-ec I had in seventh grade. I hear they don't even offer that class anymore. That's where I learned the awesome caramel apple ice-cream topping I still use to this day. Too bad the sewing part didn't stick with me better.)

Sure, I dabbled around in the kitchen as a kid, but I headed off to college with no real knowledge of cooking. My mom gave me my first cookbook as a graduation present:

I looked through it, said thanks, and really didn't plan on using it. At all.

And I didn't. Not my freshman year, anyway. Who had time for cooking? I mastered the art of ramen and opening a can of soup. 

Until suddenly one day, I couldn't do it anymore. I couldn't eat another meal of Suddenly Pasta or smell the simmer of ramen noodles again. I emptied my cupboards of all those ready-made meals and cracked open that cookbook. And started cooking.

My first meals involved burnt pork chops and dried out chicken. My roommates were my guinea pigs and it was often a big fat FAIL. But I discovered something: I loved this. I didn't want to make the same dish over and over again. I loved the adventure of creating something new, the surprise of an untried recipe and the expectation of a novelty meal.

I've been addicted ever since then.

So I'm nothing special. I have no special training. I might watch a YouTube video here and again on how to cook spaghetti squash or how to peel a mango, but mostly I just try. Sometimes I get it wrong, but these days, I usually get it right. 

What's my point? I like to compare myself to the rat on Ratatouille. Anyone can cook. I can do it. So can you. Cooking does not have to be a drudgery, but it can be something fun to look forward to. (Cleaning's the drudgery. Don't agree with me? I'll cook for you and you can clean for me. Done deal.) It's my big stress reliever at the end of every day.

What does cooking do for you? Do you enjoy it? How did you get started?



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In my pursuit to getting a cookbook published, I'm trying to develop my credibility as a food writer, and not just an author.