I've had some concerns about my health lately, though nothing medically shown, so I've decided to make some changes in my diet. Mainly, eating more veggies and buying fruits, veggies and other foods from more local sources, like farmers markets.
And cooking . . . I used to dread cooking. Probably because I wasn't a very clever cook. One of the stories my mother tells is of me trying to make egg salad with scrambled eggs. It was a running joke for a long time. Years later, I mentioned the story to a writing colleague who also happened to be a very creative and talented amateur chef. His response: he could see an egg salad with scrambled eggs, a new version of the old.
So I am becoming reaquainted and introducing myself anew to cooking. Not baking--for some reason, I don't have any desire to make cookies and breads--but entrees and salads and soups and pastas and whatever else jumps into my head. I didn't realize until lately how creative cooking can be. And soothing and satisfying. Now when I leave work, I don't think about stopping to pick something up for dinner but, rather, what is sitting at home that I can work with to create something homemade. Grilled eggplant with olive oil, garlic, salt, and pepper, for instance . . .
This week I've been mostly successful. My favorite has to be the Greek chicken salad--slivers of Kalamata olives, lemon juice and zest, red onion set it apart from the average joe chicken salad. My first attempt at soup was also a success--lentils in a reused stock with potatoes, carrots, parsley, green beans, onion, and red hot pepper to give it a little kick. Yes, there were things that could be done to improve the taste and texture--more lentils and maybe a little milk to make it creamier--but it worked.
So I am no longer helpless in the kitchen. This has been coming about for years, though--I've become pretty good and making salads and have developed some very basic cooking skills, which have helped me to make this leap. I figure it's something like me becoming an expert thrift store shopper--plenty of practice and an eye (or nose or tongue) for the details. Next step, figuring out how to make that scrambled egg salad . . . .