I used to be proud of the fact that I couldn’t cook. Somehow along the line, I determined that if you were a woman that couldn’t cook, it meant that you didn’t have time to learn. It meant that you were a breadwinner and couldn’t be bothered to be a bread maker. I associated cooking with restricting oneself to the ways of the past.
Now that I am the wise old age of 25, I know a little more than I did back then. I know that you can be both a breadwinner and a bread maker. I know that there is absolutely nothing wrong with choosing to be a homemaker. It’s all about choice. What I didn’t like about the idea of being a homemaker was that it made me feel that a woman was forced to stay home. As long as there is a choice, then I’m chill with someone choosing to work in the home.
So maybe it was that realization, or more likely and less profoundly, it was the fact that I was too broke to eat out every night, but as a senior in college it started to bother me that I couldn’t cook anything more complicated than mac ‘n cheese. So how did I learn to cook?
Let me be straight up about how bad of a cook I was at the time. I ate most meals I “made” from the microwave, and I don’t even think I owned a measuring cup. Until senior year, my flatware consisted of Plate and Bowl. I called them by their formal names. Whenever I tried to bake, something disastrous happened. Once I even blew up our oven, because I put a plastic pan in it. The pan literally exploded, the oven tried to explode, the metal all puffed out, and there was a small fire. So you could say I was starting from point zero.
When I decided to buckle down and learn to cook, I convinced Kelley to join me on my adventure. Every Thursday night during our senior year, we would meet in my kitchen and try out a new recipe. Normally it was something simple enough involving a combination of shrimp and vegetables. Though we didn’t do anything crazy that year, I began to feel more comfortable in the kitchen.
It wasn’t until I started dating Chris that I really learned to experiment with various recipes. Chris loves cooking and at one point considered going to culinary school. Cooking and trying out new types of cuisines became a big part of our relationship. That first year we were dating, date night cooking would be a whole night affair. When we moved in together last year, cooking became more of a put-the-food-on-the-plate kind of thing. I was able to make meals fast, but I wasn’t able to make them very healthy.
That’s where I was this September. I could cook pretty well, but most of the things I knew and loved to make weren’t good for me. So I started over. I restocked my pantry with healthier cooking products. I read up recipes on blogs. I took chances on some products I was afraid to try, and recipes that looked complicated. I admit that I still often don’t know what I’m doing.
Now I sometimes make awesome meals. Sometimes I make some horrible concoctions. But I am doing something I never thought I could or should do. I am cooking.
Last night, I was given one of the best compliments ever.
Your becoming a great cook. Chris told me.
So to all you that say you can’t cook, you can. Just don’t put plastic in the oven and you’ll be good to go.