Now let’s start with a little background information about me. I am not a great cook, and I really don’t have fond memories of my mother teaching me to cook mashed potatoes or bake a pie. We baked cakes and cookies but from the box. I grew up in a fast household, and if you were hungry, you ate something frozen to microwave to mouth.
The generations before mine were presented with easy, fast, and quick solutions for putting dinner on the table (or any other time of day meal). But they did not know the damage those processed and frozen foods would cause to our culture. It is apparent now that diabetes, obesity, and heart disease are so prevalent in our society that we took a wrong turn.
This all I learned and gathered from many different books, and if you are interested in reading it all for yourself, check out Michael Pollans’ book A Defense of Food. I blogged about it already!
So where am I going with all this? Well, take these facts and give them to a person that doesn’t know how to cook and hasn’t even tried the majority of vegetables in the grocery store and you will see one confused and frustrated young lady. That was me years and years ago. I’ve had my ups and downs with learning to cook but am finally starting to really feel like a cook.
If you asked me today to explain how to make something, I probably could off the top of my head! Meal planning is now second nature, and I never go into a week not knowing what I’m having for dinner every day. Every grocery trip is accompanied with a list of ingredients and barely any of them are processed foods.
It has taken a lot to get here. I’ve burned garlic bread, thrown away full meals in anger, and even ordered a pizza because I didn’t meal plan properly. But I’m in a real good place, and I just must share some new finds and original ideas.
I struggled to find a good cookbook and finally the library came through with a good one–Herbivoracious by Michael Natkin. Some recipes were too time consuming but a few were awesome little finds. The first was the Chickpea Fritters. They are fried in vegetable oil and included flour and breadcrumbs. Maybe not the most healthy thing in the world but a great little vegetarian dish that I really enjoyed and will use again and again.
Then a few days after making this dish, I had a wave of genius pass through me. I dropped everything I was doing and looked at Dan. When he heard, I think a small tear or two fell from his eyes. Since going vegetarian, we have allowed occasional meals with meat but they are far and few between (which we like).
One meal we craved and missed was Hooter’s buffalo wings. I realized that we could make the chickpea fritters and shape them like boneless buffalo wings. We even went to Hooter’s and bought our favorite sauces and added some blue cheese to really make it feel like buffalo wings.
The result was great, and it was my moment that really made me feel like a cook!