Thursday, February 9, 2012

Cooking Issues

I never learned how to cook growing up — my mom didn't really know how, so my dad always made dinner. But he didn't cook like normal people cook, he would take something normal like Hamburger Helper and then intentionally put weird things into it to make it more interesting. He would never tell us what dinner had in it. Plus he has a weird sense of humor, so every dinner was "Dad Surprise." The first time my college roommate came over for dinner, he told her there were gerbils in the stew. Someday I'll tell you the reason I won't eat sour cream.*

Because I didn't spend much time with him in the kitchen, I never figured out what things go well together. I'm slowly figuring things out, but mainly I just follow recipes that I find, and occasionally I'll adjust them if I don't like some of the ingredients. I have started experimenting with pasta more, because it's really hard to screw up pasta. (Hint: penne + olive oil + tomatoes + basil + chopped nuts = awesome. Cinnamon + pasta = horrible.)

One of the things I struggle with in cooking is figuring out what foods are in season. I bookmark tons of recipes every week, and then I let those recipes sit and languish for months and months until I get around to making them. By then, all the lovely summer recipes that call for, say, asparagus, are out of season, and unless it says "summer" in the recipe name I'm going to have no idea that I can't find those veggies out of season. I've started to categorize my bookmarks into seasons, but that just makes me feel kind of insane.

What do you struggle with in the kitchen? Do you have any secrets for keeping seasons straight?

*Okay, that time is now. When I was a kid, we had one of those plastic multi-colored jungle gyms in our living room (why in the living room? I don't know). I was playing on the jungle gym after dinner one night, and Dad asked me if I wanted some whipped cream. Not being old enough to read yet, I saw the white tub and got really excited for a spoonful of whipped cream. It was sour cream. I have never forgiven him for this.

1 comment

  1. One of my biggest struggles in the kitchen is timing. I'm always afraid when I have more than one part to a meal that everything won't be finished/still hot at the same time.