Practice, practice, practice.

Lemon butter cookies that came out OK.
I've been reading a few books about people who learn how to cook lately. It's not really by design; I finished The Dirty Life earlier this week and I'm now a few chapters into A Tiger in the Kitchen and both were random selections, a gift and an impulse grab at the library. I like books about cooking but I'm learning that I have a threshold for them. The drippy and romantic language gets irritating after a while. I don't know about you, but I've never cooked a luscious beet.

Maybe I'm just not a foodie.

What I am is a girl who does not feel very confident in the kitchen. I cook on a pretty regular basis and, of that cooking, I'd say that 70% of the time I end up cooking from new recipes. Maybe this is great for a more experienced person, but for me, it feels like starting over as a beginner every single day.

So yesterday as we were walking home from the subway, I mentioned to Chris that I've been thinking about the fact that cooking the same foods, over and over, might be a good way to feel more confident. Baking banana bread, for example, is something I feel totally in control of and even feel free to experiment with. But I've made banana bread probably 50 times in the last couple of years. Just like anything, the repetition makes it so I'm better at it.

A cookbook, a solid, basic, no substitutions, no frills cookbook, was what seemed in order. Cooking my way through one of those occurred to me, though I didn't know which one it would be. My parents got me the red and white Better Homes and Gardens cookbook when I was just out of college; that's the cookbook that lives in our kitchen at home, the one whose pages are stained and torn after more than 30 years of marriage and use. It seemed like a good candidate.

But then as we were getting ready for bed last night, I found a Groupon deal. I like to check out the Groupons in other cities in case there are cool things my friends might want to know about (or I might want to gift them!). And lo and behold, in Portland's Groupons, I found A YEAR OF ONLINE COOKING SCHOOL.

I know. Online. Meh mehhh, not authentic, who do they think they are, food was meant to be smelled, felt, tasted. I had that feeling too until I watched some of their sample videos and realized that they teach you how to use pans properly! And knife skills! And they provide recipes based on the skills they taught that day. Did I mention they have practice sections and quizzes? (Swoon.)

I got more and more excited and then I turned to Chris and said, "I think I'm going to do cooking school for a year!" He laughed, but to be fair, he would have had the same reaction if I'd said "Elephant training school! I'm in!" What can I say, the man knows who he's marrying.

The thing is, when I think back, my parents cooked dinner for us almost every night of our lives growing up. They both had full time jobs and we ate homemade meals every night. I don't even understand how they came up with the time, energy and skill to do it, but I know that I don't feel prepared at this point to consistently deliver food to a family. I'm hoping that cooking school is going to get me in shape in the kitchen.

I'll most definitely be posting about this and I've even been considering some little videos with fun facts about the stuff I'm learning. Won't that be fun?! I know. I can't wait, either.

1 comment:

Steve said...

True that. major props to the Epting duo.

I attribute 87% of my basketball skills to that homemade mac & cheese and pineapple upside down cake.