April 20th, 2015 by Jan

Oprah calls them “ah-ha” moments. AA knows them as “moments of clarity”. Sam would say to “ring the bell of enlightenment”.

All of these came together for me yesterday, when I tried using the new power tools in the kitchen. I get it! I know why I have such trouble cooking. I saw how I work with a process that is familiar to me in one area of life, that has not transferred to another.

I had the great awakening — I cook like I quilt!
It doesn’t work. There is no seam ripper for recipes.

Sandie told me her mom used to say if you can read, you can cook. Well, my reading skills, while better than ever, are still in the stage of glossing over pages when it comes to cook books.

My process: I pick a food. Beets, or chicken, or beans…. Then I look at a picture in the cook book and look in our cabinets and see that we don’t have coriander or cilantro or chicken broth, so I move on. Meanwhile, I made rice. So, I start wondering what can go with the rice. My chef friend Chris said to use salt, so I start salting stuff. I want to use one of the power tools, so I slice up potatoes and fall back on the familiar and roast them. Still I have no actual meal. I have food. Rice, potatoes and roasted beets. Oh, steak on the grill is always good. Salt it! Blend the veg and make soup. Meh… dinner is ready! I make a salad.

You can see this does not make for a successful cooking experience for me. After 30+ years, Ken is used to this and eats what comes his way. Neither of us has lost any weight over the years, so it has worked. But… now I see where I am going off course.

Cooking is a lot like quilting. Take different fabric or ingredients, and then, sew, or blend them all together into a fine work of art, or a tasty meal.

But, not for the beginner. The beginner must go slowly and learn all the steps. The beginner needs to follow directions. Oh, the horror… oh, the acceptance, oh, the “ah-ha”. I am ringing the fucking bell!

Today, I will pick a recipe out of a book. Get ALL the ingredients it calls for, and step by step follow the actual directions.

It sounds a bit boring to me — but, looking back, I did take a quilting class when I first began making quilts. They did not tell me to just cut up fabric and sew it back together the way I do now. My early quilts are particular patterns. They actually taught me the basics with particular directions.

So… my quest today is to follow directions, all of them. Well, the ones that have to do with cooking anyway.

If not — there are three Chinese restaurants on the coast, two of them deliver. I also know I can sit at the sewing machine and create some satisfaction if my plan fails.

One thought on “Merde!

  1. Laurie

    I do like to cook and suggest to you the “The Pioneer Woman Cooks” website. She has easy to follow ingredients lists and “how to” photos, and the recipes each make a lot of food and everything I’ve tried so far has been delicious. Salute for stepping out (or in) to the world of kitchen gear!


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