I found a link recently to a blog that was doing a Home Cooking 101 online class. That’s cool. But it was a lot of money. I just hate the idea that anyone should have to pay to learn how to cook!
I was wondering if there are any of you readers who would appreciate more instructive posts on the art of home cooking? It seems like most of you know your way around a kitchen, and have your thang going. But believe me, I would love to go on and on for hours the way I can about How to Be a Home Cook, if anyone out there wants help. I touched a little on it in this post. Being a home cook is about so, so much more than the actual cooking. I think it mostly boils down to creative thinking, and a familiarity with ingredients that can only come from lots and lots of fucking around in the kitchen.
The other night when I realized at the last minute I was out of potatoes and decided to brave substituting cubes of homemade wheat bread in my chick pea, tomato and spinach casserole (!) I thought of you, dear readers. I thought it would be fun to give a more intimate peak into what goes on in my brain when the dinner hour approaches.
I do so much leftover management that I hardly know how to cook without something that needs using. That particular day, without any scraps to start from, I had felt adrift. Hmmm… I have…. Well, lets see. (Start with starch.) We had rice last night, pasta the night before and rice the night before that. So. Potatoes it is. Okay. (Next, protein.) We don’t have more than a few special occasions worth of meat and fish from home. So. Chick peas from the freezer? That sounds good. Ummm, potatoes, chick peas… Should I go Moroccan (a favorite of mine), northern Mediterranean or Indian curry? I had just made those roasted garlic in oil yummies, so a Mediterranean style casserole of potatoes, chick peas, plenty of olive oil and garlic, tomatoes, and (always last on my mental checklist for no good reason) what vegetable? Unlike the FDA I do not consider potatoes a vegetable when meal planning. And tomatoes are a fruit, plain and simple. So. Spinach from the freezer?
Sounds like dinner! I blundered along, assuming the constant presence of potatoes in my fridge, until, Crikey! Could it be? But I don’t feel like pasta again! Let alone rice. Or even quinoa. The mix would be good dumped out on a pizza crust. But I didn’t have a pizza crust. I was stumped. I scanned the fridge 12 times before the loaf of neglected bread finally registered. Hmmm. Could you maybe…? Like– stuffing? Sort of? Without even toasting/drying it first? It seemed like complete culinary heresy at the time. Now it doesn’t sound so strange at all. But that could just be because now I’ve eaten soggy bread, chick peas and tomatoes and yes, it was perfectly good food. Don’t know that I’d do it again, exactly like that. The pasty bean texture next to the slightly soggy bread texture was just a bit not right for me, but My Man loved it. Toddler ate her share. And it was a revelation that stuffing doesn’t have to start with dried bread cubes, and doesn’t have to taste like celery, onions and turkey.
In this vein, I thought I would follow myself around for a week of dinners, and report. I could just describe my thought process and ingredients, one cook to another, or I could give real instructions, if you’d like. Vote here and now if you want instructions!