Beginning Again

Beginning Again

For weeks I’ve been wondering what to do with my first blog post back. I’ve had a hundred excuses not to sit down and write it- too many orders to fill, too much work, hating the design of the site (still do, so sorry about it). And also just not knowing what to write about.

A lot has happened in the last few weeks, a lot of really emotional, worldwide event sort of things. And a lot has happened for me, personally, in the last year that makes me want to rant and vent and write all these posts about everything that’s wrong in the world.

But one day I was making broccoli cheddar soup, usually one of my better recipes, and it turned out so well that while stirring and adding ingredients and drinking a healthy glass of wine I suddenly realized, I know exactly what to write.

I’m a cook, but I’m not a chef.

I’ve had occasion in the past weeks to work side by side with a chef, and I will write about that at some point, but for the moment suffice to say it can be intimidating. Watching cooking shows and reading recipes and paying too much attention to what other people do with their food, can all be immensely intimidating. And I have this thing where I’m really good at cooking, actually, but I don’t have that spark of creativity that will inspire me to suddenly add figs to a dish because that seems like a grand idea at the time. I would absolutely fail if I went on Chopped. I can no more invent a complex recipe than I can repair a car engine.

But I can cook. And that’s the realization that I think many of us amateur home cooks need to have more often. I can make a really amazing broccoli cheddar soup, and I can make a base for it that’s really smashing, and I make great roasts, and lovely gravies, and of by the way I just made scrapple from scratch for the first time and you know what? It was really good.

Was any of that cooking going to blow your mind? No. But that’s really ok. In the alarming world of pinterest and instagram and the rest of it, it is really easy to feel inferior to everyone else in the universe when it comes to your cooking. Somehow it should just be… fancier. Working with a lot of chefs really doesn’t help. But I like to make simple, easy (by my standards) food with local, fresh, ingredients, and hell if I’m not really good at it. Fuck anyone who says otherwise. Come and try my homemade sausage with a jar of homemade hot sauce, bitches. I’ve got skills.

And as I embark on the next phase or whatever of blogging and writing and who knows what else, I just want to be sure that I remember that, really, most people are not cooking the way I’m cooking. When I pull recipes out of a magazine I’m making the “weekend dinner” on a Monday night because it’s probably easier than whatever other shit I’ve come up with, recipe wise. And yes we eat pizza. And yes we have bacon and eggs for dinner when we’re fed up with cooking. But on the nights I make dinner? Deciding to make a pot pie with homemade stock and freshly made dough and meat from the bird I just roasted is totally normal. And really, really, good.
And so, where does the blog go from here? I really don’t know yet. I’m not sure I ever knew in the first place. All I know is I’m still cooking, and still growing food, and still feeling the need to write about it. So here we go, layout be damned. I’m a cook, and a homesteader, not a chef.

PS: I got an Instagram account. At some point I’ll figure out how to link it to this so there’s a feed, but I’m finding that incredibly puzzling right now.

One Response

  1. I’ve had similar feelings about making and playing music recently. People are too focused on perfection. If a kid learns an instrument nowadays, all conversations immediately tend to go to, “How is she progressing?”, “He should go study with so-and-so, he’ll learn so much and so fast and Julliard will be a sure thing.” Whatever happened to just playing an instrument (or singing for that matter) for purely one’s own heart’s joy. If it brings you joy, if you love what you’re doing, if your heart is in it, if it makes you relax the end of a stressful day or a shitty week – who cares if you’re the next Joshua Bell. We don’t need a plethora of supertalented supermusicians, we need people who enjoy playing music for the sake of music. Same relates to sports, cooking, writing, fishing, gardening, any hobby really. So, I totally can relate. I play music, I’m really good at what I’m doing, I’m having a blast doing it, but I’m no Joshua Bell or Hillary Hahn. But that’s okay. That would be boring anyhow.

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