Why am I doing this? Because a long time ago I discovered that cooking was cheaper than therapy, and believe me, I’ve been down that road!
It all started when I was a newlywed 22 year-old. I walked into a supermarket and wandered around totally ignorant of what I needed to make something. Anything. I didn’t know a rump roast from a porterhouse steak. I stared at the meat display in dismay, and worked up the guts to ask another shopper what the different meats were and what I could do with them. When I confessed that I didn’t know how to cook, she looked at me as only a Jewish mother can, rolled her eyebrows as only a Jewish mother can, and simply said: “If you can read, you can cook.”
With a prime rib roast tucked under my arm and a few potatoes and frozen peas, I headed home, ready to prepare for my first dinner party. Oy! The meat was raw. The potatoes, baked for a full 15 minutes, were hard. The peas were wrinkled. I was humiliated as I handed each dinner guest a brown paper bag into which I had carefully placed each guest’s undone baked potato!
I started reading the “Woman’s Day Encyclopedia of Cooking” that my mother had collected for me, all 12 volumes including the index. This little treasure started me on my cooking journey and through the years I’ve graduated from that to Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Julia is my muse. She sits on my shoulder whenever I’m in the kitchen and guides me. Some days she veers off course, but others she’s right on.
But one word of caution when you’re reading recipes: read them twice. I guess that’s three words. Surprises aren’t welcomed in the kitchen, especially for a novice cook. But you won’t be a novice much longer. Just put on an apron, tuck a hand towel into the waist for wiping your hands, turn on a favorite CD and enter the land of serenity. When you emerge, a magnificent new dish will be ready to eat, and you’ll marvel at how easy it was. Enjoy!
Share your experiences and comments with me: