That statement, while seemingly innocuous, is huge for me. I spent 37 of my first 40 years actively not cooking. I hated it. I remember when I was little, my mother would sometimes ask me to help her make dinner. I would opt to make the salad! I never really learned how to cook anything at the hands of my mother (which I now regret) and went to college not knowing how.
I have no idea what I ate in college and beyond. I must have blocked those memories out. Lots of take-out, frozen dinners, sandwiches, and ramen noodles, I suppose. Even when I met J, I never cooked. He jokes that the one meal I made for him when we were dating was a tuna melt (simply made by putting tuna and cheese on bread and sticking it in my sandwich maker)...although that really wasn't a joke. I never cooked for him.
Not that I COULDN'T cook, mind you. I was able to follow a recipe, and certainly made some things over the years when needed: food for a Passover seder, a meal to bring to a friend's house for dinner, dessert for a party. I COULD cook, I just hated it. I found it boring, pointless, and a waste of time.
After we had our first child, D, I still never really cooked. J would come home from work and cook dinner for us. Once in a while I would make a Boboli pizza, and think I was Julia Child. It wasn't until after our second child, A, was born, that I developed an interest in cooking.
When A was born, and in the NICU for 12 weeks (and then hospitalized for another month after that) my dear friends brought my family dinner about 4 times a week. It was amazing, and I felt so cared for and loved. Most of the meals were homemade by my friends, which stunned me: my friends COOKED? What? Was I the only non-cooker in the bunch?
After A was stabilized, I decided to try a recipe. It was winter 2007, just about 3 years ago exactly. I clearly remember my first recipe I tried on my cooking renaissance: jumbalaya. It was so fun to chop all the vegetables, measure my ingredients, and prepare a tasty meal. I was hooked, and haven't stopped since.
Why do I like cooking?
- It challenges my brain. Since becoming a full-time stay-at home mom, sometimes I feel like my mind has become mush. Managing cooking times, trying different recipes, etc makes me feel like I'm actually using my brain!
- It gives me a creative outlet.
- I like knowing what is IN my food, and take comfort knowing that everything I eat is 100% vegetarian.
- It give me "alone" time without being alone. I usually cook while the kids watch tv or play in the next room (which is attached to the kitchen). I can watch them, and still be by myself. Better yet, sometimes I put on my iPod and cook to my favorite tunes.
My main audience is my husband. He is who I cook for. On days when he's not home for dinner, you can be sure I'm making something low-key such as spaghetti. I love to see his reaction when we eat dinner; it feels good to have him enjoy what I make.
I welcome all vegetarian recipes, and would love to hear from any of my readers!