The Adventure that is Cooking

or, Why I Do What I Do

Once upon a time, about a year and a half ago, I didn't cook. I was a senior in college, living off campus but with an on-campus meal plan, and most my time was spent in class or in the computer lab. If I cooked, it was simple and fast and cheap. I was a college student, for goodness sake!

Fast forward to today. I'm still all about "simple, fast & cheap," but I love cooking. No one- myself included- would have ever guessed this. Computer Scientists are supposed to like pizza from the delivery guy and Mountain Dew, right? Two weeks after I graduated college, I got married, and two weeks after that, got a job. This made me a bona-fide working wife, but left me with the dilemma- what am I and my new husband supposed to eat? There was no running to the campus cafeteria and swiping a card. Thus began The Adventure That Is Cooking.

I had to view cooking as An Adventure, or else it would never get done, and we would forever eat grilled cheese sandwiches and frozen pizza. I decided to tackle it as a combination between a crazy science experiment and a beautiful creativity outlet. The early attempts were exploratory and simple- the from-a-mix cookies with icing & sprinkles from a year ago July are an example. I was testing the waters. For the first time, I felt like I was allowed to be creative. I was allowed to experiment. (At times, I feel bad for my husband, who has to eat the results of my experiments!) After the cookies, I tackled the staples that I felt every cook should be able to do: yeast bread, meatloaf, chicken pot pie, Nestle Toll House Cookies, apple pie. I gave each a shot, and was excited with the results. Looking back now, the results weren't all that stellar- but, for me, then, they were astounding. Who would have thought? That I would ever cook? And enjoy it?

I moved on to bigger things, got more creative with the presentation of food, and took more liberty with recipes. I've discovered the some of ethical and environmental issues behind the food we eat, and have been exploring those. I've been able to blossom in the area of hospitality, because I am unafraid to share my cooking (good or bad) with guests in my home. I've learned that The Adventure That is Cooking is less 'science experiment' and more 'art'. And an Adventure wouldn't be an Adventure without risk, pitfalls, and the possibility of failure, right? There's been plenty of failure, that's for sure. Just this week, I was baking a cake that was to be served to some of my best friends, and it broke into three pieces as I took it out of the pan. I was able to salvage it, to some extent, but this just goes to show: Adventures never cease. I'll be cooking a camping breakfast for 14 tomorrow morning, and I haven't the slightest clue what I'm doing, but, in the spirit of Adventure I'm willing to give it a try. If it fails, it fails, so be it. If it succeeds, I will put it on the list of yet another challenge conquered, and I will have 14 happy friends.

(Cooking is my adventure. What's yours? Check out scribbit's Write-Away contest- the theme this month is Adventure. This is my first time participating. It was fun!)


Scribbit said...

I hadn't received an email or anything that you'd entered but found your link--did you want me to include this in the contest? It's a great take on the theme.

Joanna said...

I thought I had sent an email... yes, please include it! Thanks!