I have a confession: I’m just really learning how to cook now in my thirties. I am embarrassed to admit this NOT because I’m a wife/mother and I believe a woman “belongs” in the kitchen. Hell no! I’m embarrassed because I think it’s a skill EVERY HUMAN should have by the time they’re an adult.
To clarify, I’ve known the basics for a while. I don’t mean to brag, but I know a bit more than the recipe for ice. I will say, I’m a decent baker of treats but you can’t live off cookies, muffins, cakes, and brownies. Sad truth.
I got by on my own in my early twenties usually by making sandwiches, scrambled eggs, grilled cheese, rice, George Foreman grilled chicken, vegetables with Mrs. Dash seasoning, boiling noodles, heating up store-bought pasta sauce, etc. However, I don’t consider that cooking and everything I made was either bland or just okay. I had never made a meal myself that made me go, “Mmm, this is soooo good!”
I guess it’s because I grew up in a meat and potatoes household. Sorry, mom. (We can blame my dad for that.) I just didn’t associate dinners with exciting flavors and variety so I kind of assumed it was rare outside of a restaurant. Then I met my adventurous husband and I discovered dinner can be just as good, if not, BETTER than ordering out! What?! It’s possible!
I watch Nic in the kitchen and he can make an amazing meal without needing a recipe. Where as when I follow a recipe, I re-read each instruction and measurement probably fifteen times before I’m confident enough to go forward with it. He will attempt to make pretty much everything I ask him to and 99% of the time, it’s delicious. I also haven’t bought pasta sauce in over seven years because Nic always makes it from scratch. Sometimes he even makes pasta from scratch! Then there’s me, struggling to cut fruit and vegetables. Plus, even when I have get-togethers with the girls, and we’re all expected to bring a dish, everyone assumes, correctly, that Nic made it. (“Ha ha ha, Bri… she doesn’t cook!”)
Yes, I’ve been spoiled for several years now.
Most stay-at-home moms are responsible for all the meals too, but Nic will come home from working all day and still usually be the one who starts dinner. Even when he leaves to go on business trips, he stocks the fridge for us and makes us something to throw in the crockpot or pre-made freezer meals, etc, to make the evening easier on us. No one said I wasn’t a lucky lady!
When we first moved in together, our deal was Nic would cook and I would clean. It’s worked out very well. I don’t mind cleaning (more like I can’t stand not being in a clean house) and he enjoys cooking. It’s actually one of the ways he shows love because acts of service is his love language. And yes, I realize I hit the jackpot when I married a man who can not only cook but wants to cook so I’m not complaining about it. I just realized once we started Sebastien on solid food that I need to step it up.
I love that our son will grow up seeing his dad in the kitchen and will never associate that role as just a “woman’s job”. But I do want him to see us being more equal in all the household duties. Because also ever since Sebastien was born, Nic’s been picking up more of the cleaning jobs yet I had still been slacking in the kitchen. Oopsie.
Have you ever seen this show called “Chef in your Ear”? (I think it’s on the Food Network, I’m pretty sure it’s Canadian content.) I caught an episode once and almost died from secondhand embarrassment. It’s essentially two adults who have never cooked before that are competing to make a recipe with only the help of a professional chef talking to them through an ear piece. It’s basically the “Canada’s Worst Driver” of cooking, as in kind of pathetic. Last thing I wanted was to end a suitable candidate for that type of show, so I became determined to evolve beyond the basics.
It’s never too late to learn!
(Although I’m not sure I’ll ever be confident enough to BBQ.)
Where to start? I realize this is not a new concept at all but I don’t know what people did before Pinterest. Pinterest, for me, has completely replaced cookbooks. I’ve been pinning recipes for years now (although I used to just get Nic to make them for us) so I decided to tackle some myself and surprisingly, I’ve found I have a pretty high success rate with each one I try. The more I branch out, the more confident I become! Of course, I’ve also made some duds (#pinterestfail)… but I’ve realized the worst that can happen is that you poison yourself, and I’ve yet to do that.
I totally understand that if you’re not comfortable in the kitchen, it can be overwhelming. (This is a big reason why we’re getting Sebastien involved in cooking as young as possible, starting with small, age-appropriate tasks.) I personally find it’s difficult trying to follow recipes with way too many ingredients or steps. So quite often I will include the word “easy” in my search. To my delight, there are so many satisfying and yummy meals that don’t require ten bags of groceries. There are also so many liars who claim to offer “easy” recipes that are so not simple, so it takes some scanning through before committing.
With that said, here are some of my Pinterest finds that have been a hit in my household:
- burst cherry tomato angel hair lemon ricotta
- one pot Greek chicken and lemon rice
- butter chicken (for this one we had to buy a lot of new spices so it was pricey the first time I made it, but once we got them, we’ve made it over and over.)
- tomato, avocado, cucumber, chick pea salad with feta and Greek lemon dressing (okay, I definitely have a thing for picking recipes with lemons. This one is actually just a side dish, but it’s now my go-to salad to bring to summer get-togethers!)
- Thai noodle salad (great on its own or as a side.)
- Hawaiian BBQ chicken wraps (don’t worry, you don’t need a BBQ, just BBQ sauce. Still too nervous to turn on the BBQ.)
- fettuccine Alfredo with home made sauce (a once in a while type of meal… very heavy and filling, but so good!)
Pretty much, if I can cook these, I think almost anyone can.
Let me know in the comments if any of these work out for you, and feel free to please share your favorite recipes too! I need to add to my list. I’d love an easy yet delicious slow-cooker meal, an Asian noodle dish, a great vegan dish, hint hint.
I also really want to share soon some of the things my husband makes for our family regularly such as his roasted red pepper tomato sauce, chicken cacciatore, and our homemade pizza nights. Next time!