Thursday, November 02, 2006

among other things

Today's project (besides writing 2,000 words for nanowrimo, reading some homework, washing my dishes, taking a shower, going to class and then going to work) was making vegetable barley soup with portabella mushrooms. Yum.

I made this recipe up out of my head and realized as I was piecing it together that the reason I don't know how to cook very well is because I never learned how. It only recently occurred to me that I could consult these things called recipes for helpful cooking suggestions.

I watched my mom, who is a great cook, throw things together in the kitchen as though throwing things together was as natural as walking across a room or talking on the telephone. She just knew how. I never, in all my young life, saw her consult a recipe. I guess she didn't have to. Her mom taught her to cook. And while my mom was a great cook and I saw her doing it in there, she never said, "hey, get in here and let me show you how to do this." And I never said, "hey, teach me how to do that." And so, here I am, getting to be an old lady, and I don't officially know how to cook.

In my mind, cooking is like a science project and a logic puzzle all rolled into one. I start with a goal, create a hypothesis based on reasoning, and before you know it, I have something good or nasty smelling up my house. Today I wanted barley soup with a meaty sort of savory flavor, but I didn't want meat, so I chopped up and sauteed portabella mushrooms (w/ garlic and onions) in olive oil and a little bit of wine. I added that to my barley and vegetables and threw in some red kale and wow, I had some yummy soup!

And I'll continue to have yummy soup for the next several days, because I made enough to feed an army. That's another thing I haven't learned to do: cook small portions. Oh well.


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