Holy cow batman! What’s that smell?
This past weekend I cooked up a storm. There was soup and chili and some items that make cooking easier like sautéed onions and mushrooms to freeze then pop in Marsala sauce.
There was a time long, long ago (almost in a different galaxy) that I loved cooking. I loved the creativity. I loved the smells and the ingredients. I loved pulling together a wonderful meal that looked good and tasted better.
Not so much anymore.
This is one of those things my mother said would happen.
Did your mother tell you about how things change? Did you pooh-pooh it and say that wasn’t going to happen to you? And did it? I know she’d love to be here to say “I told you so!” (I wish she was here to tell me so.)
She said stuff like there would come a day when you didn’t want to shop (heaven forbid!). Or watching a movie on a DVD (it was VHS back then) was just as good as going to the theatre (no way!).
I was into the excitement of being there. Feeling the energy! People! Places! (Where did that go?)
Back to food – My mom was a great cook but as she got older she didn’t have the desire (or perhaps the energy) to cook. Blame it on living alone or not having the right ingredients on hand, but she rarely made some of her great dishes.
She said it would happen.
My food tastes have changed in many ways. I like simple. I rarely eat a dessert after a meal (I like a nice treat in the middle of the afternoon though).
I’m always on the lookout for techniques that allow the flavors to sparkle. (Yes, I know a good wine will do that – the wine goes into the cook, not the pot!)
I could tell how much I have changed as I looked through my recipe collection.
Some were so alien compared to what I cook now. I trashed about a third of the recipes I had. Too complicated, too many “special” ingredients, too rich – there were lots of reasons. There was also the “what was I thinking” moment. Did we really put condensed soup in a lot of stuff?
Some were purported to be quick but weren’t. I tried a “spaghetti in one pot” recipe. I like it better when the pasta is cooked separately. Less gummy.
One thing stuck out though. Most of what I cook now I do from my head. I like certain combinations of ingredients that always work and certain techniques.
Sautéed onions and garlic bring instant compliments from the beloved husband just for the smell. Fresh basil in the kitchen makes everyone smile. (You don’t even have to cook with it. Just pop it on the counter and you’re a hero!) Roasted veggies! You can’t go wrong with that.
Keeping the food simple and fresh works with a touch of butter at the end.
Deep down I fear I’m growing up. Ack! Mom would be so proud.