Thursday, July 19, 2012

I wish I could cook.

For lunch today, I managed to toss together a bunch of random stuff that was in the refrigerator and create a pretty tasty meal.  Basically I made a standard grilled cheese (Monterrey Jack) sandwich on potato bread, but I also had a piece of panko-breaded tilapia and a slice of tomato.  Plus, I had a bit of habanero jack that I put on there.

A thought occurred to me while I was eating it.  I remember once, years ago, when I was visiting my uncle.  He offered to make me some dinner, but he said that he didn't really have anything ready but he'd see what he could throw together.  He then proceeded to make an awesome meal.  That, in my mind, was what made him a person who can cook.  It's one thing to be able to follow a recipe.  It's another thing to be able to just toss something together with the ingredients that you have on hand.

I actually know how to make a few things.  I make some pretty good shrimp that I serve with pasta and pesto sauce.  I make a pretty awesome grilled chicken with my custom-made marinade.  Lately I've been making some pretty tasty pork chops.  There's a lot of other stuff that I can make, but for some reason I still pause before saying "yes" to the question "Can you cook?"

For some reason, I feel like I'm cheating when I'm simply following a recipe.  I can say that I am at the point now that I can alter some ingredients and improvise a little bit here and there.  Usually, it works out pretty well.  Still, every now and then I make something and it turns out to be crap.  Well, I don't think I've made anything awful lately, but I've made some stuff that turned out a bit on the bland side.

I guess for some reason I think that a person who can cook is somebody who can make a completely different dish for every day of the month, toss something together with various scattered ingredients, and never makes anything that isn't excellent.  I'm not sure if a person like that actually exists.  

I wonder if everybody who cooks thinks the way I do.  It seems as though it's a process where I'm always getting better, but I'll never be nearly as good as I'd like to be.

1 comment:

Nolan said...

I've gotten a lot better at cooking since doing it on a daily basis since I've been married, pretty much. And I also like to deviate from recipes, which drives Eileen nuts. I'd put myself at "competent," which sounds a notch below where you are. I'm also pretty limited to like nine or ten things, and when I try something new, it usually isn't so great the first time.