Why I am a home cook
I like to cook. I am not chef and likely won't be winning a Michelin star during this lifetime. I did, however, watch Burnt this weekend - a solid feel-good movie with Bradley Cooper as the 3-star Michelin-seeking lead...I digress. I am a solid, sometimes adventurous, home cook and home entertainer. I cook for myself and I cook for others.
I came to be a home cook during graduate school. However, the seeds were certainly planted early in my life. My mom is a home cook too. I grew up in a house where the kitchen was the center of our lives. My brother and I did homework at the kitchen table. My mom cooked for us most every night, or left instructions on how to heat up something she had made previously. Holidays were, more often than not, celebrated at my parents' house (and still are). My mom cooks and bakes. When we had a garden, she also canned and preserved. We did not eat out often -- perhaps pizza on a busy weekday night. Slowly I learned a few things from Mom -- and certainly had my fair share of food disasters. Hamburgers that doubled as NHL hockey pucks is still a famous family story.
But, in graduate school, I found I had no energy when it came time for evening classes. I yawned my way though classes and felt completely sluggish. Since I had the benefit, I made an appointment with the nutritionist in the Health Clinic. We reviewed my habits -- eating, exercise, sleep, self-care, and stress. Ultimately, she suggested I increase the amount of protein in my diet.
This prompted me to start making meals more regularly to bring to work and to school with me. Someone gave me a cooking magazine subscription and cooking blogs were just starting to come into fashion. I moved to Fort Worth, TX after graduate school for a job and a little life adventure. I found myself connected to a home cooks social group - and I started cooking even more and was surrounded by other women who shared food and recipes.
And the rest is history. When I cook for myself, I know what I am putting into my body. I won't lie -- I do like sweets and have an uncanny love for fried potatoes. But, more often than not, I am eating lean protein, lots of vegetables, and healthy starches. Fuel for my body and my soul. My weekdays are busy -- so I've gotten into the habit of cooking on the weekend for the week ahead. When I cook for others, I am fortunate to enjoy the community of friends and shared experience. Food is for everyone and food brings people together. Food cultivates relationships and relationships cultivate understanding. Food and (home) cooking brings people together.
I've even begun trying my hand at gardening with a plot in my local community garden and a few potted tomatoes behind the back door. I've done this for the past five years or so - but I am a complete novice. I like the experience of trying and learning -- and sharing the spoils of my labor. My friends will tell you they enjoy when cucumbers come into season -- my ice-box pickles are in high demand.
In the posts to come, I look forward to sharing recipes, my favorite cookbooks and authors, and what I am cooking week-to-week. For now, join me on Pinterest to see what I'm saving for future weekend cook-off.