An ex-boyfriend once commented that it's funny how domestic I am, because you would never expect that given the rest of my personality. I don't know when it happened but somehow I started watching the Food Network and that is my default channel to watch these days. I have learned so many good things that I may never use (how to deep fry a turkey), and many things I have used. I used to refuse to cook for myself – how fun is it to cook a great meal for one? But now I cook regularly, and like to find recipes I’ve never tried before – either challenging to cook, or challenging in terms of pushing my eating-comfort-zone.
My favorite things to cook
I like to make challenging meals and I'm not afraid to try something new for the first time, at a gathering. But sometimes it's just sharing a meal, more than what I'm eating that I love, especially if I made something someone else really loves, for them. I *love* cooking long meals with someone or sometimes alone, with a bottle of wine and no worries - and maybe a movie on in the background - how relaxing does that sound!
My favorite family cooking traditions
My family cooks and feeds each other as a way to show that we care. When my parents or brother comes to visit I will load them up with things I've found for them, that I know they will love. I'll cook/bake it the night before and then freeze into serving-size containers. They in turn will bring me food (sometimes even groceries I cannot find here) from their towns (bought or homemade) that I love. When I eat something and it reminds me of my parents or brother, I will note it, and then get take out the night before and freeze that. I've made my mom chicken marsala, and my dad kraut bierocks, and my brother loves Italian beefs. I'll try to make something for my mom that my dad won't eat, because I know she won't cook it for herself at home, and I try to make my brother things in bulk that he can freeze, since he is a lazy cooker (although he is the better cook in the family). I love to send muffins or cookies in the mail - it REALLY brightens someone's day.
My cooking triumphs
I recently had a rough day and decided to come home and just cook something complicated. I made gnocchi from scratch (from Lidiasitaly.com) and it took about 2 1/2 hours and some serious elbow grease, after watching Lidia Bastianich do it, but it came out amazing! I wouldn't hesitate to make it again and will never buy frozen again. Homemade breads/doughs always make me proud (pizza dough and kraut beirocks). Anything I am remembered for is a triumph.
My cooking tragedies
For a while, I thought I was cooking for me, and my boyfriend would get the tasty leftovers, but after we broke up I realized that I had been cooking for him all-along. After that realization I lost a taste for cooking. It took me a while, like a month off, but I'm cooking for myself again, big or little dishes to please myself. And I'm content again - in my 'zen through cooking'.