Learning how to cook!

My mom is a really fabulous mother. She loves me unconditionally and I’ve never once felt like I was disappointing her in my life decisions. She did once tell me three years ago that she didn’t think I should take a job working in Gwinnett County since it was so far from my house, but she still supported my decision. (By the way, she was wrong to think I shouldn’t have taken it, since I’m still employed by the same place and worked days just out of nursing school in the ER.) She has also taught me a lot of really important things about life over the years. She taught me that you have to pay taxes every year (surprisingly, not everybody knows this). She taught me not to buy things you don’t have money for (and I still won’t buy anything on a credit card unless the money is in savings). She taught me to work hard and that you’re never too good for a job, whether it be scrubbing floors or serving fries (I clean the bathrooms at work to this day if I have time, because there’s no point in calling housekeeping when I can clean them myself). She taught me to be independent and not to have to rely on anybody else. She recently even taught me how to caulk my bathtub!

However, my mother didn’t teach me how to do my hair or makeup (luckily, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years) and she never taught me how to cook.

I was a vegetarian for 13 years, so I learned how to make a mean grilled cheese and some fantastic spaghetti, but that was really about it. I can’t recall ever making fresh vegetables during my vegetarian years and the first time I ever cooked meat on my own was probably only 1 1/2 years ago. My mom made all of our dinners in my elementary school days, and in my middle school years I spent every single afternoon over at my neighbor’s house, where we ate Goldfish and drank Coke like it was our job. In high school, we mostly fended for ourselves with a bowl of cereal, and once I could drive I was working 30-40 hours a week at Arby’s so I was never home for dinner.

When Jon and I were together the first time around, we did cook some. But we mostly made the same things over and over again. He would make chicken on the stove and we would saute a bag of frozen veggies. I kept telling him that I’d learn to cook when I got out of nursing school and had time.

I finished nursing school and was eating out for most of my meals or making really simple things. Once I started eating Paleo (May of 2012) was when I really started experimenting because you can’t eat Paleo and not cook. It’s impossible, unless you’re rich and order premade meals for every meal.

I’ve pretty much mastered chicken. I can cook up pretty much any type of veggie, although I love squashes, zucchini, and sweet potatoes mostly, and Jon likes things like green beans and broccoli and not much else, so he really limits what I make. I’ve mastered the crock pot and pork is so easy in a crockpot. Well, I use “mastered” loosely. I’m pretty good at it. I’m sure I have room for improvement somewhere in there. I know how to make steak, but Jon usually does it. And I haven’t tried to make fish lately, but whenever I tried before, I failed miserably. Then I got tired of wasting money on ruining fish, so I quit trying. And now Jon makes all of our fish, and that’s how I’d like to keep it.

I still don’t like cooking. I don’t dislike it quite as much, but I still would never say that I enjoy cooking. That’d really be a stretch. I hate baking, but I still only cook Paleo (moo Paleo- I do cheese) and am not a huge dessert person anyway, so I don’t really need to bake. But I do cook because I like knowing what’s in my food and there’s also something nice about being able to serve somebody you love a nice, warm meal. And once you start eating only wild caught fish and grassfed beef and cage free chicken with no hormones and nothing is preserved, you really stop wanting to eat out so much. Oh, and I guess once you hit a certain age, you really should just know how to cook (with or without your mother’s help).

Yesterday I made this.

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It’s chicken baked with creamy spinach and mushrooms. It was delicious. And that’s why I’ve learned how to cook. Even though it’s a pain to make things and I get tired of chopping onions and killing my eyes or peeling 2lbs of carrots or wasting an hour of my day just so I can eat dinner, it’s nice knowing how to make decent food.

Besides, when this is all you buy

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you really have to know how to prepare it. (PS- How nice would my kitchen look with a backsplash?! I WANT!)

So, Mom, even though you taught me a lot of things, I guess I just had to teach myself how to cook! But I succeeded. Except for fish. And I will never independently cook fish again either, cause I’m bad at it and it’s expensive.

(By the way, all that food is from the DeKalb Farmer’s Market. If you live in Atlanta, GO THERE. It’s insanely busy and a serious pain in the ass and it’s -45 degrees inside, but all that food was $92. The produce is all hidden in the bags, but that $92 included pure maple syrup and organic cashews (that accounted for $18 of the bill). It is so cheap and they prepare your pineapple for you! All the chicken is raised without hormones, the eggs are so cheap compared to the store, and they don’t use preservatives in the baked goods and they look delicious, but I’ve never tried them cause I don’t buy bread…)

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4 thoughts on “Learning how to cook!

  1. I’m about 4000 miles from Atlanta so probably won’t make it to that store – but the food you cooked looks nice!

  2. I didn’t realize that you were vegetarian. My only method of cooking veggies (honestly) is sautee them up and add as many spices as possible. I am the world’s worst cook.

    • I was from when I was 11-23 (so I guess for 12 years). I started eating meat the day we got to Kuwait after my deployment. Random. Roasting veggies is good too! And so easy!

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