14 October 2008

Learning to Cook

We’re hosting a Halloween party, and I want to serve traditional American food. Though, what is traditional American food is questionable. I decided on pulled pork barbeque. Of course I’ve never made it before, and before I met Paul, I had never even heard of it. On Friday night, I made for the first time, and two of our good friends were kind enough to be my guinea pigs.

Let me back up in time a bit. I used to abhor cooking. When we were dating, Paul hated coming to my apartment because the fridge was always empty save maybe a bottle of Cesar dressing and a hard piece of parmesan. As a single girl, I dined out most of the time, and frankly my limited skills couldn’t compete with the dining out ethnic restaurants.

When Paul and I got married, I decided to try a little bit harder to learn how to cook, but ultimately the responsibility fell to Paul. Unless I had a cook book on hand, and about four hours to prepare and cook a meal, I was pretty much hopeless. Besides, by the time I got home from work, I was too hungry to cook.

It wasn’t until I became a stay-at-home mom, that I really learned to enjoy cooking. Part of this was because I had the time to follow the more elaborate recipes that reminded me of restaurant food. While living in Virginia, we bought a share in a local farm, part of Community Supported Agriculture, and this got me very excited about cooking. Receiving unfamiliar veggies like squashes, beats and pak choy, as well as free range chicken and eggs, brought out my creative side.

Now I look at cooking like art. It’s a creative process, and you hope that what you cook will turn out as good as you imagine. Unlike art, I get to follow pre-tested recipes. Pulled Pork barbeque is no simple recipe. Between preparing the sauce, seasoning, soaking and then another seven hours of roasting in the oven, it took me a good fourty-eight hours too finish the pulled pork from start-to-finish.

It was a huge success. My husband and our friends loved the pulled pork. How it is that I can handle cooking something so complicated, but grilled cheese continues to thwart me is a mystery.


Denise said...

I still hate to cook. But I'm glad you are enjoying it!

That being said your stories are very entertaining. Particularly the one about Max and his Da-Da. I'm glad you finally have your warm clothes, bed, etc. Take care!

-- Denise

Denise said...

The secret to grilled cheese: turn on the skillet (electric or on the stove). Put butter/margarine on it. Let it sit for a bit. Then put your bread/cheese/bread on top of the cooking butter. You may have to add more as you go along. After one side is finished, flip it over and cook the other side.

The secret? Don't put the butter directly on the bread, put it on the skillet and don't start grilling it until the pan is good and hot!