My Thoughts on Cooking and the Kitchen

Here is a different kind of post for you; it’s about my thoughts on cooking and the kitchen. I’m not really sure when my love of cooking developed. Growing up, my parents cooked and we ate well, but nothing was fancy or particularly noteworthy. My favorite dishes were my mother’s lasagna or huge Thanksgiving and Christmas feasts, and my father’s crab cakes and macaroni and cheese (homemade of course!). But I have to be honest. I don’t have tons of memories of helping out in the kitchen or classic parent-child teaching moments over the stove.
My Thoughts on Cooking and the Kitchen
Interestingly, it was actually eating with my best friend (we met in kindergarten and are still best friends to this day!) and her family that exposed me to more exotic foods – at least for a child. Her mother is a great cook and I clearly remember eating shrimp on homemade pizza at their house. They are also the people who introduced me to escargot, lattes, raw sushi, and the Kona mixed plate (a delicious “lunch plate combo” we would order when traveling to Hawaii, with fried calamari, white rice, and an ice cream scoop of macaroni salad).
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I, probably like many millennials, (I am close enough to still be considered a millennial) got into food, eating, and cooking in my early 20s, towards the end of college and in grad school, when I began cooking for myself and watching Food Network. Once, my sister said that I kinda looked like Rachael Ray and that I could have a show like her. I took it as a huge compliment, and for many years to come asked for (and received) Rachael Ray’s cookbooks for Christmas.
My Thoughts on Cooking and the Kitchen
Unlike the college days I don’t live with tons of roommates, and I don’t yet have a gaggle of kids to be cooking for. I hear lots of people say that cooking for one is a waste, or that it’s not worth to cook just for themselves. I whole-heartedly disagree, for several reasons:
My Thoughts on Cooking and the Kitchen
First of all, you’re worth it. You’re totally worth it. If you are interested in cooking or have already mastered a few recipes (or more!), why should you not be cooking and eating what you love, what makes you happy?! A table for one — at home or at a restaurant —  is not the same as eating while lonely. The food (and wine) can be your company.
My Thoughts on Cooking and the Kitchen
Secondly, eating at home is often much less expensive than eating out. I’m a firm believer in having a well stocked pantry, freezer, and spice cabinet. Once you have those staples on hand, going to the grocery store for produce, dairy, chicken, meat, and fish is easy. Dry goods are particularly inexpensive (think beans, pastas, and canned goods), and can be readily made into a delicious meal when paired with fresh veggies and a protein of choice.
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Third, let’s say you’re having an off day and the meal just didn’t turn out the way you wanted it to. If you’re cooking for yourself there is no one there to complain! You can either eat your less-than-satisfying meal or order in. Either way, you don’t have anyone else that’s begging you for something they want to eat.

Leftovers! Nearly everything I cook leaves me with leftovers, at least for lunch or dinner the next night, if not for a few more meals. When you order a combo #8 through the drive-thru, you typically don’t end up with lunch the next day.
My Thoughts on Cooking and the Kitchen
Also, cooking allows you to be creative and experiment, and I believe everyone should have that freedom. Although I enjoy baking, it’s more of a science. Cooking, however, is more of an art. Once you learn which basic flavors meld well, you can easily design delicious weeknight dinners or create more complicated culinary eats.
…Which brings me to my last point. You get to cook what you want to cook. You don’t have to leave out the onions because your girlfriend doesn’t like them. Cooking for yourself makes your meals ultimately customizable. As the cool kids say, cooking for yourself lets “you do you!”
My Thoughts on Cooking and the Kitchen
The purpose of the Kitchen part of my blog is to encourage younger or less experienced cooks to become home chefs. And that doesn’t have to mean going fancy! My recipes are designed to be accessible, as are most of the ingredients I use. I don’t use expensive ingredients or gadgets (for the most part), and most of the steps are simple. I’m also not afraid of using store-bought items when it makes sense. (For example, although I am sure I could make a delicious homemade hummus, store-bought brands do the trick in many cases). I want all people to be able to cook for themselves and their loved ones and enjoy doing so.
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And so I will leave you with a quote from James Beard, the chef whose namesake celebrates American cooking at its finest. “The secret of good cooking is, first, having a love of it. … If you’re convinced that cooking is drudgery, you’re never going to be good at it, and you might as well warm up something frozen.”
So go, get started! And if you’ve already started, keep it up. I’d love to hear what you’re cooking in your own kitchen tonight!
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2 thoughts on “My Thoughts on Cooking and the Kitchen

  1. I love this! Some nights I miss cooking for one (picky kids is a real struggle!) and I’ll make a separate meal for myself once everyone else has been fed, just so I can “do me” and try some new recipes without the pressure. Sweet potato and black bean quinoa bowls are my latest favorite. I’m excited to try some of the recipes you’ve posted!

    1. Aww, so glad you liked it! While I do like eating together as a family, I understand kids and adults have different palates. Sometimes you just have to eat like an adult! 😉 Your bowls sound delicious! What kinds of flavors do you use? With the black beans I think it could go Mexican/Southwestern?!

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