adventures in cooking

I have never been encouraged to cook by my family, only berated for not knowing how (and I was not going to ask to be taught by those who were verbally hurtful). While I know how to make pasta (but not sauce or meatballs), tacos, eggs, banana bread, and a few other extremely basic, “bland” foods, I am no Barefoot Contessa. My only claim to fame so far, homemade mac and cheese, has been slammed for being “cold in the middle,” no matter how long I heated it. I got an A+ from my brothers though! Anyway the bottom line is that I never felt confident enough to even try. There are those who will chalk it up to millenial damage, but I chalk it up to a whole other kind of damage.

But the week leading up to Easter, I had a special guest – my sister. Though she is 6 years younger than me, and acts her age in many ways, there are other ways in which she is vastly more mature. One of them being that she can actually cook. While she was here she taught me a basic italian sauce. I have some frozen, but will not be attempting to make my own until fall begins to beckon. But at least now I know how, and don’t need to buy a jar from the store unless I want to. I already know how to make chicken cutlets (it’s my favorite food!) so this fall I will make chicken parm. I plan on using the sauce my sister froze for lasagna next week!

During the weeks leading up to her visit, we talked about Easter Sunday and what we would cook. We decided on ham and potatoes as the main faire. When the day actually rolled around, she was not very helpful. But I wasn’t worried. She had already taught me so much about cooking in one week! I set a few timers on my phone to calm my anxiety, and got going. Dinner was a success!! I enjoyed making it!! All I needed was some confidence, a phone with the ability to set multiple alarms, and my sister, boyfriend, and good friend nearby for damage control.

Everyone loved dinner and I was so proud of myself. Two weeks later I promised to bring dessert to T’s house, the friend mentioned above. I normally would have panicked and bought some bakery cake from the local grocery. But I made (instant) pudding and poured it into a (premade) oreo crust. I got strawberries and some whipped cream. Now I know this is nothing. I whisked some milk and powder together and poured it into a premade crust. BUT… for me it was a HUGE STEP!

Lastly, tonight I made… *drumroll please* 2 STEAKS! All on my own! I used this recipe, and it worked out for me. I didn’t have anxiety, or freak out in any way. The steak was delicious and came out exactly like I imagined – no, wait, it was better 🙂 Along with the steak I made (instant) rice and (steamfresh) green beans. But when the green beans were done steaming, i mixed them in oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder.
Tomorrow we are having guests for dinner, and I am making chicken and mashed potatoes. This is no shock because I have made this many times, even for the particular couple coming over. But on Friday I will attempt to make cod with a lemon sauce. I can’t wait.