Rebecca's Cooking Journal

salt and pepper

Archive for the ‘where I’ve been’ Category

Eating Through Life

I’ve been reading A Homemade Life, a memoir/cookbook by Molly of Orangette. It’s quite delightful reading, simply because it shows how good food has always has been an integral part of her life. Her life is and always has been one of food, cooking, and eating.

I feel jealous.

My life hasn’t revolved around food memories. In fact, I didn’t know until I was 25, for example, that cooked pork chops are not supposed to light gray and tough (apparently, pork chop are not usually steamed). My favorite childhood foods were cinnamon toast and Cinnamon Toast Crunch, and I got through four years of college by eating sugar cookies and cold cereal. Dinner had always just been a necessary thing every night (that is, a way to fill my belly), but food itself had never been a central part of my life and memories.

For many years, rather than begin a fruitless search for something appetizing, I decided I’d rather not eat. Eating was a bother. I skipped dinner most of the time when I was in college.

Reading Molly’s memoir helps me to realize that I want my son’s life to be different than mine. I want him to experience food as a pleasure, not just a necessity. I want him to recall seasons of his life through the foods we eat. I want him to recall dinner with fondness, and not just dessert.

Food, especially dinner, is communal. I want the dinners we enjoy together as a family to be a means to forming life memories and lasting relationships.  Food really can tell the stories of our lives, as Molly’s memoir attests.

And that is why I strive to learn to cook better.

Why do you learn to cook?

Blog Post BINGO “personal” post. Details here.

Flashback: Making Rice (For the First Time) and Avoiding Disaster

During my first semester in college, I decided to cook a pot of rice for dinner. I knew making rice required boiling rice on the stove with some water and waiting a while. But I’d never actually made it before.

Surely my clever 18-year-old self could figure it out! Isn’t rice the definitive easy recipe? I threw some rice into a pot with a two cups of water and turned on the heat.

The result: A burned sticky mess on the bottom of the pot. My mom bought me a food pass at the dorm cafeteria because she worried I’d never eat. (She was probably right.)

Lesson learned: If you’ve never made something before, look at a recipe or some instructions, even if you think you know how to make it. And watch the pot!

Yesterday, I had another chance to try cooking something else new: hard boiled eggs. I wanted to avoid the inedible disasters previously called hard boiled eggs.

Confession: I am 27 years old, and I had never successfully hard boiled eggs.

After a quick reference to Google, I found some great information at OChef.

I followed Julia Child: cool water, eggs covered, bring to a boil, then take it off the heat and let it sit for 17 minutes; when timer rings, set in ice bath. (I didn’t prick the egg first, but it was still ok.) The eggs were perfectly cooked! No nasty green around the yolks.

Where were all the hard boiled eggs while I was starving in college? This was very simple food to make and it made my Chinese chicken noodle salad very tasty.

I cooked another egg for my son’s meal today and he loved it, begging for more.

How do you make hard boiled eggs?

Note: This may give you a feeling for the level of cooking you may expect from this site. I hope to share my cooking mistakes and discoveries so we can learn together!

What’s one of your memorable cooking disasters?