How the yellow house changed my mind about cooking

One of my house slave duties is cooking. It’s actually my chief duty.  What’s hilarious about this is I spent years avoiding cooking because I was sick of it. And why should I cook when the other adult in the household is a far better cook than me. So I got out of the habit and when I did have to cook dinner it was seasoned with a lot of self-doubt and resentment.  The other adult was extremely picky and I was always uncertain about what I was fixing for dinner. Fortunately, I learned a lot by watching her manage the family meals. And so far I haven’t poisoned us. Well…there was that time I tried to serve extremely undercooked chicken. The Handsome Stranger was in a ridiculous mood that evening and insisted on eating it because it was his chicken and I had put it on his plate. Fortunately, he hasn’t dropped over from salmonella poisoning.

It’s been an adventure cooking for us.  An adventure because most of the time I don’t know what the Hell I’m doing and just put things together because I think they will taste good in combinations. Like the apple mushroom ragout I stuffed in a pork loin; the strawberry sour cream pie. Fortunately, I have had more hits than misses.

I’m having a good time teaching myself the kitchen basics all over again. I honestly didn’t know how to boil an egg until this February. I had almost forgotten what it was like to make multiple meals at once, planning like ingredients and mapping out the prep work and actual preparation. When I was first recuperating from my accident it’s how I spent Saturday and/or Sunday. The Handsome Stranger would take me to the grocery stores to bend/lift/twist for me and then I would spend the better part of two days, assembling a week’s worth of meals. My pace was slow and methodical as I sat at the kitchen counter relearning half-assed but previously known “skills”.

The moment I walked into this kitchen six months ago, I knew I wanted to cook in it. I’ve a trained eye for seeing through clutter and dust. This was a cluttered and dusty kitchen but it had “good bones”. I have what feels like acres of counter space and storage.  If I had a Viking range with eight burners I could cater out of this kitchen.  I love this kitchen and I’ve never loved a kitchen before. Ever. This place makes me want to cook. So how much of this new found passion for cooking is the kitchen? I think that’s a huge part of my shaking awake the almost lost gift for putting great food together.

I’m not a skilled cook. My knife skills are lamentable and it’s the simple things—like boiling eggs—which I’ve had to research and learn. I still can’t cut a whole chicken nor am I going to learn how to do that. We pay butchers a union wage to do that for us.

Once upon a time, next to preparing the food, my least favorite chore was planning meals. “What’s for dinner” was a torturous slog through terrible ideas. Now I have a hard time making up my mind what to fix because I have a stockpile of ideas. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not the impossible love child of Julia Child or James Beard, the food I make is extremely simple.  The men of the house just think I fuss but my saucier chef—Piper—knows better.  Before she was snatched away from me and traveled to New York with her Daddy, Piper knew all my secrets. I hope she doesn’t spill them in a fit of homesickness. I’ll have to take away her apron and chef’s hat.

About Laura

When my nest emptied I moved from the big city to a little big town to tend to a ramshackle yellow house on the edge of town. These are my Yellow House Days.
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