Throughout college, my attempts at cooking for myself were limited to spaghetti, stir-fry, "helper" meals, and eggs. After I graduated, I was stuck at my parents' house for a year, where I got into gardening and farmer's markets, and I started to take an interest in helping my mom cook healthy foods. In August 2008, I moved in with my boyfriend, whose diet consisted of cereal and fast food. Committed to maintaining my own health and turning his around, I've become what I never thought I could: someone who absolutely loves cooking.
My favorite things to cook
I love experimenting with different ways to make vegetables tasty. Onions and mushrooms work their way into more than their fair share of meals, whether breakfast, lunch, or dinner. Since I don't eat any meat from pigs or cows, I also have to experiment with ways to make chicken (eggs, ground turkey, shrimp, salmon, or tilapia) interesting time and time again. So, for me, cooking is a challenge, but I guess that's what makes it fun.
My favorite family cooking traditions
My mother's family is French Canadian, so I grew up eating a lot of poutine, crepes, and anything with real maple products from my great-aunt's farm. Christmas at my grandma's was always graced with buckeyes, meat pies, and sugar pie. Meanwhile, my dad's family cooking was more country-style, so my palate was also infused with biscuits and gravy, venison, and deep-fried perch. Neither of these were particularly healthy diets, so my own cooking tends to be based on eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, with some fish and poultry thrown in there for protien. I save the tradional foods for special occasions with my family.
My cooking triumphs
Before my boyfriend and I moved into our two-bedroom apartment, I had temporarily stayed with him where he had been for the past year: in an "apartment" attached to a pole barn on his brother's property. Don't get me wrong, there were laundry and bathroom facilities, as well as plenty of living space (for one person only), but the "kitchen" consisted of a fridge, a microwave, a toaster, and a makeshift pantry (the only sink was by the bathroom). With a tabletop convection/pizza oven, a griddle, a hotplate, a hotpot, a rice cooker, and a Magic Bullet, I was able to make real food with limited resources. Seems how this was my first real attempt at being a cook, now that I have a real kitchen, I'm ready for anything! Warning: tabletop convention ovens like the Wolfgang Puck heat up fast, but take much longer to bake with. Double the baking time for all recipies.
My cooking tragedies
I never thought I would be a cook because of a big mistake that I made when I was in middle school. Eating my Golden Grahams, I was reading the back of the box and found a recipe for a Rice Krispie Treat like dish, made with my current cereal of choice and chocolate. That night I decided to make said treats. While melting the chocolate/marshmallow mixture, I left a rubber spatula (probably not the best choice of kitchen tools) in the saucepan. I didn't realize what I had done until my dish was out of the oven and cooled, when I bit into a treat and pulled a piece of the spatula out of my mouth. My family did not appreciate the lure of a chocolate-y dessert coupled with a warning sign.