|The Thermochemical Joy of Cooking|
In nifty news, I bought Alton Brown's first cookbook and it is sexy. Plus, Fox and I are three sheets to the wind (best phrase ever) with cooking. Monday I blended two green bean casserole recipes on the spot because I decided it would be better food. I even subbed things out with out ruining the meal; I think it was better with yoghurt instead of cream. Last night Fox made superbly spiced beef patties with portabella.
I think therefore, I'm not as helpless in the kitchen as previously believed. I just felt daunted by it. Much of the progress has happened simply because I shifted my perspective. Before, cooking was an arduous task. Now, it's something fun that Fox and I can do. I used to think it cut into recreation time but it can be recreation. Besides, I can still unwind with Boob Toob and cook. It is kinda nice, actually.
The next steps seems to be learning more recipes. We have a select few things we know we can make. We just need to add to that base. Flavor combination and spicing is surprisingly easy - especially when you taste as you go. I've found I can pick apart food into component flavors when I'm tasting which helps quite a bit in the preparation. Problematically, there's a level of science I haven't grasped yet; namely, what happens to most foods when you apply X sort of heating, where X can equal frying, baking, boiling, sauteing etc. These things are all very different and blend ingredients in markedly different ways. This bit can be learned, I think, through vigilance in tasting before and after heat application. I'm even thinking about starting a cooking journal, a book of experiments if you will not unlike chemistry experiment design, to track observations and results of cooking experimentation.
The hardest part seems to be actually panning meals in advance. That's boring, dull work. I'd much rather have a stocked kitchen and make what feels right when I look at ingredients. This isn't really practical or economical. That situation is, in my opinion, the sort of nirvana of master cooks - delicious meals from kitchen scraps. While there is a certain amount of this ability present, hence the use of mushrooms in pretty much ever dish we're eating this week, but the Zen blindness isn't there. I shan't expect it soon nor to I really care if I get there. I'm pleased not to feel stupid.
Irrespective of my abilities or lack thereof, I'm finding it all fun now. I don't feel like a hapless oaf by the oven. A little planning and we're set.
Oh, but I'm never giving up my Boca products.
You'll have to pry those from my cold, dead hands.