Me: 33 year old cooking novice. Self diagnosed with Mageirocophobia (fear of cooking). Working on it one small dish at a time.
I’m just learning to cook. From scratch. That means learning to chop, measure, mix, and actually read recipes (I’m kinda a skimmer, which I’ve realized does not lead to success in the kitchen). All my life I’ve had people around me who love to cook. So I didn’t have to (smart, aren’t I?). My mom, my roommates in college, and now my husband adore working in the kitchen. I don’t get it, but I’ve never had to. In case of emergency, I make a mean toasty cheese sandwich and have conquered the art of cooking boxed foods – but normally, if someone doesn’t cook for me, I just have a bowl of cereal.
Well, now I have two kids for whom I’d like to be able to feed some sort of healthy food, and I just became a stay-at-home mom. I have the time (well, kind of, didn’t I just mention I have two kids?) and motivation to give this whole cooking thing a try. (again)
I have tried cooking in the past. It has not been successful. Let me share a few reasons why cooking hasn’t worked for me:
1. My husband — He is the quintessential talented, perfectionist cook. (He would own a restaurant and be a chef if I let him.) My problem is that whenever I try to cook when he’s around, he tries to help me. I call it back-seat cooking, he calls it minor assistance and suggestions for improvement. Usually I just quit and tell him if he knows how to do it better, he should just do it on his own. Hopefully being at home and cooking while he’s at work will eliminate this issue.
2. Reading — As I mentioned before, I am a skimmer. Works great when reading textbooks or novels quickly, but kinda messes you up when cooking from a recipe. Example: When the recipe reads Add chicken broth. Cover and let cook for twenty minutes. I read Cover with chicken broth and cook for twenty minutes. Not a huge change, but when you’re making a chicken dish that is not supposed to be a soup, this can cause a problem. I’m working on this.
3. Raw Meat — I’m terrified of it. Especially chicken (texture, color, contamination, etc.). Is there an actual phobia for this?
4. Knives — Also terrifying. I once worked at a bagel shop, sliced my palm open and had to go to the emergency room. This leads to chopping issues as I cut really big pieces, just to keep me safe. Not the best for most recipes.
So now here’s my challenge. I’ve decided to just try cooking once a week. That’s all – I can do that. Even better, I’m starting with crock pot cooking. No worries there with burning food or scorching pans (of which I have done both – more than once).
And I’ll write about it in this blog. Hopefully you will enjoy my ups and downs as I try to figure this out.
Wish me luck!
Edited to Add – October 2011:
So, I’m still working on my cooking.
I’m definitely not perfect, but I sure am getting better. And I’ve learned some things about myself.
1. I really like to bake! Even though most of my mistakes happen in the baking arena, I love it. Who knew??
2. The dinner cooking is still a stretch for me. I’m just not nearly as motivated to make it. I’ve moved from crock pots to regular cooking for the most part, and it’s hard for me to keep up with the pace – mostly because I like a clean kitchen when I cook, so I tend to put things away as I go. (As in, I have to put that cutting board in the dishwasher because it doesn’t belong there and I can’t stop staring at it and it’s driving me nuts, so I’ll just let the pot simmer a little longer than usual so I can put the cutting board away.) A little OCD, anyone?
3. Cutting isn’t that bad. I can do it – and not hurt myself. Yay!
4. The grocery store is not my arch-nemesis. Now that I know where to find everything, I am the main grocery shopper in our house, and I usually take my kids with me. (Frankly, I should get an award for just that.)
5. My husband is much more helpful than I thought. He’s been really respectful and gives me my space when cooking (most of the time, at least).
So, overall, this self-challenge has been one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever done. And I’m not done yet. I’ll keep pushing and challenging myself. And who knows what could happen?
Thanks for reading!