I have been told that I am a good cook. I have to admit, when hearing that statement, I always giggle. My mind wanders back 42 years ago when boiling a pot of water was…..well, let me ask: Have your ever burned a pot while trying to boil water? In those days, our meals consisted of the pre-packaged variety and I hate to admit — I could even screw those up. Thank goodness we lived close to family or my poor husband would have starved to death. Being a southern girl, I was not proud.
Thinking back, my parents were fabulous cooks and they entertained on a regular basis. Holidays and Sunday meals were a big deal in our home, but for some unknown reason they never taught me to cook while growing up. I WAS great at washing dishes and I could clean a house from top to bottom; I was even great at mowing the lawn and doing yard work, but cooking, no.
Determined, I began my mission. I decided that if I could read and follow directions, then I could learn to cook and entertain. This was the time before HGTV, the Cooking channel, or Martha Stewart Living — so I had to start clipping every recipe that I thought my husband might enjoy. I begged everyone that I knew to share their favorite dishes with me. I studied details of magazines that focused on entertaining. I saved boxes and boxes of clippings, which later were glued into journals. And, I experimented. Lord knows, I threw a lot of meals in the garbage and would end up serving my family grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. But, my skills improved more and more.
What is so surprising to me, I can now gather ingredients from my pantry and refrigerator and throw together a meal without a recipe to follow. I can take leftovers and prepare a new meal from them. I am comfortable taking a recipe and changing it to our taste. I have come a long way from that kitchen I stood in 42 years ago.
No, I am by no means a chef or a professional. I am just a southern gal who overcame an obstacle in my life by reading and collecting recipe’s, taking my time and following each step, by not being afraid to experiment and by having a wonderful husband that never criticized me for trying. And, I learned to laugh a lot at the mistakes I made along the way.
So, if you too think you are not a good cook, my promise to you is this…. if you can read, follow directions, you can cook. Experiment, laugh at yourself, enjoy the journey. And, if necessary, be prepared to cook a lot of grilled cheese sandwiches and soup. One day, (42 years from now) you too will be giggling when someone tells you that you’re a good cook.