Monday, January 25, 2010

The Challenge

Hi friends!
It's been such a long time since I've written here! I'm so bummed about that fact. Not much has been going on in my creative life. I did finish that watercolor class back in November...I need to take a photo of the last painting we did and I'll be sure to post it. I enjoyed the course and it was great to get out once per week for an activity I could enjoy just for me. This year I haven't bothered to make any resolutions, but I do like to think about the directions in which I'd like to better myself going forward. One thing? Cooking. I have no clue what I'm doing. I did well in Home Ec back in seventh grade, but that was a zillion years ago, so that isn't much help. I always found it frustratingly boring and then I hated the cleanup afterward. So, when I was single, I stuck with canned food or frozen dinners. Nothing healthy in the slightest. Chris is the chef of the house and he enjoys cooking. He makes wonderful meals and is even able to make things without a recipe. He's very talented. Anyway, I'd like to be more brave about cooking and try my hand at some meals for the family. I know Chris wouldn't mind coming home some nights during the week to a hot meal already prepared. I just have no idea how to clean up meat, trim fat, etc. It's so embarrassing to admit. So, my goal is to find out how to do those things and venture forth. I know, people out there are rolling their eyes and wonder what rock I've been living under...or are saying that it's not rocket science. But for someone like me who survived a long-ass time on Ramen Noodles...well, it's a challenge. My poor Mom always begged me to pay attention to her lessons in cooking as she worked in the kitchen. But I was all "women don't ALWAYS have to be the cooks of the house MOM!" as I gave vague attention. Why didn't I try to pay attention more??
The other thing I want to learn is how to sew. Again, we made duffel bags back in Home Ec, but the teacher did most of it for us and I have no memory of how we did anything. I know how to stitch by hand. That's pretty much it! I have access to a sewing machine and would LOVE to use it, so I'm going to enroll in sewing lessons that are given in the town next door. I'd love to be able to hem my own jeans and pants, create softie animals that I design on my own, make little dresses for Paige, create valances for our living room, and create throw pillows. Not all at once obviously. But, I figure I need to have some projects in mind if I'm going to learn, right? When will I have time to do all of this? Who the hell knows? I'll find it I guess. Other people do it, so I can too, darn it! People don't learn to play a full piano concerto overnight; they learn the scales first. But, over time, they become fluid players. I suspect the same will be true for cooking and sewing...with some time and practice I will improve and be making magic. At least in my fantasy.
I don't have a plan for a CHALLENGE per se. I plan to chronicle my attempts toward my goals here to breathe some new life into things. It's a way of holding myself accountable. So. Was this post boring enough for you? Do YOU have some goals for things you've always wanted to learn? Are there skills you'd like to acquire this year? Feel free to share. I won't judge. I can't cook, remember? But NOT FOR LONG!


Juliet said...

Hey Megan-Juliet Here! I think it's so great that you're interested in taking on the kitchen/cooking. I've always loved baking and cooking myself, but i never considered myself to be a great chef like my grandmothers and aunts (who have years of experience). Last year, my aunt came to visit and she would whip up the most amazing meals so effortlessly-that I took on a new passion for cooking-and aspiring to be like her. So consequently i'm hooked on the food network-iron chef, chopped (the show where you get random ingredients and you have to whip up something amazing with the items-so interesting to learn from how they approach the meals). Anyway, I find that cooking is like being an artist of the kitchen. If you look at the ingredients as your paint & learn which combine well with which(like mixing your primary colors to get a beautiful new color and look at your meat/poultry/seafood as your canvas it might make it less scary and more fun to approach. At least that's what i have done-and so far it's lead me to wonderful culinary compliments from camilo!
PS. great cooking doesn't always mean you have to get complicated in the kitchen (cleaning meat/or cooking mess). look for ways to make your life easier...for example-i have found this wonderful butcher near me that sells fresh organic meat & poultry that's local (from and surprisingly-price wise very comparable to supermarket and worth every penny. What great about that he cuts the meat how ever you need it-all you have to do is season and cook-if that's ALL you wanted to do...easy! and with meat-all you really need is salt, pepper, & garlic & pop in oven-done!(that's just one approach anyway)
Ha! Good luck with your culinary explorations!

Valery said...

You are not alone as a cooking novice! I am exactly the same way, especially about trimming fat and preparing raw meat!! Although there is one difference, I didn't live on Ramen for all this years before Matt, I lived on mac & cheese! :)

liam's mommy said...

Megan I dove into cooking years ago with the help of Cuisine At Home magazine... it's not the lightest fare but they had tons of step-by-step instructions and tutorials on all the stuff recipes assume you know... meat parts, weird tools, deglazing, etc. Cooking mags are great because they give you new material every month and teach you about seasonal ingredients... it's nice to get a spring menu when you want it. I also like to have a PHOTO of everything i make!!! cookbooks overwhelm me. Now I love Everyday Food by Martha Stewart... it's fast recipes with common ingredients that are more practical for, duh, every day... :)