A personal renaissance occurred within the past year – I began tasting my food. Through my teenage years my appetite ramped up, and no box of cereal or snack was safe from being considered single-serving. I ate food as fast as my mother could stock the fridge and pantry and unfortunately, that habit of eating as if it were my first meal in a month never went away. To this day I still have to fight the urge to clean my plate, knowing that I should be saving leftovers. For the sake of my health, I tried to deliberately slow down and chew my food, and in doing so it dawned on me – food is wonderfully interesting. Your saliva begins to break down foods as you chew, changing the moment they enter your body. The application of heat transforms simple flavors into more complex ones. Furthermore, transforming the food is an art as well as a science and a world of it’s own beyond tasting it. It’s a world many casually overlook, and I’m learning that we really shouldn’t.
I started cooking a few years ago at home and like most beginners, it’s a sloppy affair trying to read recipes halfway through cooking, as one would reading a paper map while driving (I imagine). You can only slather mustard on a chicken breast before drying it out for so long before you look for something more. Even with a pantry stuffed with various oils, spices and the like, I found myself preferring to run to the neighborhood Cook-Out and scarfing down a $5 box of cheap burgers and fries. I always admired cooks. I watched my grandmother put together the family favorites effortlessly and with authority, the queen of her domain. Her power over the household, the ability to group everyone together and change their moods for the better, was astounding. I almost thought you’d have to be alive as long as she has to have learned how to possess such power, but that’s not the case. You don’t learn these things immediately, you don’t need to buy a million books or the most expensive equipment to begin. You just have to start cooking.
But where do you start? I asked myself, “How do I take this new personal discovery of food to my own home?” Obviously, cooking foods I think would be delicious was a great place to start. But what gear do you need? Do you need every spice the store has? How do I budget this? How do I buy vegetables and meats? How do I slice garlic? How the hell do you actually read a recipe? (There’s a right way, believe it or not) After a lot of trial and error and a still developing obsessive interest in food, I know these things. I learned with hours of research, combing through Reddit, cooking shows, and hundreds of food blogs. I love food blogs. They’re a peek into someone else’s kitchen elsewhere in the world. But as great of a resource as these are, I had one problem: I couldn’t relate to them. I did not learn anything, and only found a recipe I could bookmark and revisit if I wanted to. I do not relate to the mother of three who cooks for her family and writes about how much their kids enjoyed the food. I do not relate to the highfalutin gourmet home chef who is cooking (or not cooking) bluefin tuna in his upscale kitchen. I can’t learn this way. Sure, I can always find a recipe for something specific but a lot of times the rest of the blog post was fluff.
To me, cooking is just as much a lesson in anthropology and science as it is a lesson in technique, and these are all important to me. So I decided to start a food journal. Documenting your thoughts, feelings and experiences before, during and after trying something new shouldn’t be reserved for professional scholars or scientists. I wanted to create a blog, among a sea of already existing blogs that likely deliver the same information, where I could share my experiences and what I’ve learned. Anything you find in this site can likely be found in a Google search, but I like to try things for myself. I won’t be reinventing the wheel. If you can relate to me, perhaps you’ll enjoy the recipes, the articles and references delivered in a way that’s more comfortable for me.
To sum things up, I just want to write on topics that include the information I found from several places and trials into one post. I want to write the posts that I wish I found before, in a way that I like to read them.
What you will find here:
- Information on food, spices and techniques.
- Recipes that are original, adaptions or even exact versions of another cook’s. I will always provide credit where it is due.
- Gear recommendations that work. We ain’t got time for junk.
- Promotion of the idea that you don’t have to go broke to have wholesome and rewarding meals.
- References that I have found useful, be they books, videos, articles, etc.
If you come across any information that you disagree with or have any questions about, please ask or comment! This blog is not just about eating well, but it’s also about learning.