Instead of studying, which I should be doing, I am once again cooking. I never really cooked until midway through college. My friends would probably tell you I was a bad cook, not because I was, I just never did. Why cook when you’re stuck on a school meal plan? It seems silly to drive to the grocery store and buy groceries to cook in your dorm/apt when all of your friends are walking to the dining halls.
Moving into my first house changed a lot of that. There was no more requirement for me to have a meal plan and I found myself off campus more than on. I don’t know when the cooking bug bit me, but I am glad it did. I often found myself baking cookies, every holiday I would make sugar cookies for the seasons, heart cookies, christmas trees, pumpkins; name a holiday and I had a cookie cutter for it. One of my personal favorites are lemon cookies, which I have yet to make again.
But I think the best meal I have ever cooked was my very first thanksgiving turkey. When I dive in, I dive in big. I purchased a 16lb turkey, maybe it was 20lb, I can’t quite remember, but it was gigantic! I prepared stuffing from scratch and rested the turkey on a bed of onions and celery. After waiting 4 hours the moment of truth came…and the turkey was perfect! Friends came over to feast and everyone was fat and happy.
People say that everyone you meet influences you in some way. I knew a guy who was a great chef, and he still is today. His passion for cooking truly inspired me to try to cook more. It amazed me the way that he and other chefs could combine a few simple ingredients to make such a beautiful dish.
I struck up a conversation with a man yesterday who wasn’t working his dream job. He said that he would love to go to school for cooking. He showed me a photo on his phone of a chicken, pepper and mango dish he had made. His eyes lit up when he talked about how he had altered the dish to make it his own. For the next few minutes we talked about food and baking. This conversation made me realize that although we are all so different something as simple as food can break barriers and create moments of friendship and understanding.
This is why I cook. I cook to challenge myself, to alter dishes to make them my own and to explore the similarities between us all. And to the man who wanted to be a chef, I say go for it, no one can make you as happy as you can make yourself.