What’s Cooking?

791px-Phoenician_ship

She is like the merchants’ ships; she brings her food from afar.
Proverbs 31:14

Our Pool Service technician thinks I’m a great cook.
He’s never tasted a bite of anything I’ve made.
He’s been in my home exactly twice in the nearly ten years he maintained our pool.
It just happened that the first time I was making Spaghetti Sauce.

Of the women in our family I’m the least talented cook, but I make an epic Spaghetti Sauce.
The aroma is literally ~ to die for.
The very first words any visitor says are, “What’s that great smell? or What are you cooking that smells so good?”
Even my husband, who should know by now, always asks.

We’ve been slowly peeling back the layers of the Proverbs 31 Woman.
Trying to come to an understanding not only of what she does, but especially of why she does it.
We have weeks before we’ll get to why.
For now the list of what is steadily growing.
Today, this verse, is another thing she does.
And she does it with gusto.

Parts of the Grocery Store intimidate me.
OK, I feel like an idiot when I walk past the fresh herbs and all the kinds of peppers, fresh ginger, and I don’t even know what the rest of that stuff is.
Anyway, if I want, say fresh dill, because I’m making potato salad or salmon; I wait until there’s nobody else around.
No one who’s going to say, “Excuse me,can you hand me some Jicama”.
Like I know what Jicama is.
I could Google it, but they’d just be standing there.
Awkward.

So I don’t love cooking.
I love cleaning. I know, weird huh?
And the thing I know least about is combining all the cool stuff in the Jicama section.

But that is precisely the part that the Proverbs 31 Woman gets.
She knows, literally, how to spice things up.

Her dishes are made to be savored.
The meals she prepares feature variety and the intermingling of delicate layers of flavor, texture, color, and aromas.
That’s what the reference to merchants’ ships means.

I’m gonna tell you a story now.
If you’re done reading that’s fine.

I’ve given you the Biblical part.
The part that follows is just a short story and a little math.

Here’s a link to a post I wrote awhile ago about my granddaughter Kate.
She’s a Culinary School graduate.
https://kellyjgrace.com/2013/07/14/a-chef-in-the-family/

So, driving home from the Grocery Store one day I had one of the best ideas ever.
As soon as I got home I called Kate.
I shared my idea for a Cookbook we could write together.
I’d do the writing and she could come up with the recipes.
They’d be simple, but delicious.
They would slowly introduce items from The Jicama Section to add that additional layer of flavor.
They would require only basic skills and equipment.
But Kate could incorporate some of the things she learned that make preparation and cooking easier.

Remember, this was a cookbook for people like me.
Reasonably smart, but not aspiring to have a restaurant or Cooking Show.
I had the perfect name: The I Hate to Cookbook

She thought it was a great idea too.
Two days later I tell my Mom about our new project.
She gets this funny look on her face and then she says,”I think there’s already a cookbook like that”.
So, I Google it, and she’s right.
Fifty years ago Peg Bracken stole my idea.
In fact, they just released the Fifty Year Anniversary Edition.

http://www.amazon.com/Hate-Cook-Book-Quick-Recipes/dp/B001C4NMQW/ref=sr_1_8?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1381038521&sr=1-8&keywords=i+hate+to+cook+book+by+peg+bracken

Here’s a factoid for you:
A hundred years ago Americans prepared almost every meal at home.
Now we prepare only half of our meals at home.

So here’s the bottom line.
If you marry and start cooking, or graduate from college and start cooking, or for any other reason start cooking at age 24 and cook 5 dinners per week, say until you’re 80, that’s 14,616 dinners.
Some of which will have to be Holiday Dinners, Yikes!

What I’m saying is that it will be worth it for you to really learn how to cook.
Today Kate happened to drop by and I was browning meat for Beef Stew.
I had floured the first batch, but it stuck to the pan and got too dark & burned smelling.
She swooped in and added a little water, deglazing the pan.
After dumping out the water and burned flour bits, she added bacon drippings to a really hot pan and proceeded to brown the rest of the meat without dredging it in flour.
Here’s a photo.
Mine is on the left. The flour part is pulling away revealing inadequately browned meat. Which means no deep rich flavor of beef in the Beef Stew.
Kate’s pieces are on the right.
They are deeply browned and still moist, and the pan didn’t get covered with charred flour, so all the good browning flavors stayed in the pot.

DSC_0004 2

Being able to prepare food you enjoy and that others find delicious is a really valuable Life Skill.
If you’re a Foodie/Chef-type please share your knowledge and skills.
If you’re not, it’s easier than ever to learn the basics.
There is almost as much Food related content on the Internet as there are cat photos.

4 Comments on “What’s Cooking?

  1. I am loving your blog. Thanks for sharing your insights. I still think you and your granddaughter should make this cookbook. I imagine that the one cookbook that is out there does not have updated, modern recipes focusing on fresh ingredients like Jicama. In my house my husband does the cooking, which is amazing, but I would like to have a go-to cookbook that could provide healthy, fresh recipes that I could actually pull off without overcooking or whatever else I typically do to food I cook. Baking I have down, but the cooking thing eludes me! You should go for it!

    • Hi Melissa,
      Thanks for the vote of confidence. I think your right about the need. Necessity is the mother of invention, right?
      I’ll add the Spaghetti Sauce recipe to my Pinterest Board called Foodelicious.

  2. I’m not much of a cook myself – I know how Not to burn stuff, and try not to shy away from the herbs and spices, but any cooking knowledge of mine is very, very limited! Like Melissa, I love baking. I am also blessed that my husband has grown quite a passion for cooking in recent years and, time permitting, is more than willing to do it!
    A site I stumbled upon recently, http://www.onehundreddollarsamonth.com , has a few recipes on it that seem fairly simple, and are made mostly with fresh ingredients. ( Made a crockpot corn chowder from there, which was pretty tasty!)
    I think a cookbook is a great idea! šŸ™‚

    • I’m sorry I missed your comment!
      Thankfully I came across it while cleaning out the email ‘closet’.
      Today is the perfect Fall Day to try a corn chowder recipe. Thanks for sharing the link. If only I could keep grocery bills to $100.00 a month. Miracles in the last days, right?
      Husbands that love to cook ~ that’s heaven on earth:)

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