Cooking versus assembling

I’ve gotten back into cooking since moving.

I’ve always loved to cook, but in Boston my commute was so long, and schedule was so crazy, that weeknights I lived by simply throwing something healthy but FAST together.

If it wasn’t made via Crockpot during the day, it was something like raw veggies and salad, or pasta I made ahead of time with chicken or… you get the drift.

Cooking for the last few months has been more about “assembly” and less about actually cooking.

My son loves to help cook. He loves to watch bread rise in the oven, shred lettuce for salads, hand over kitchen tools for sautéing.

With the new digs has come the concerted effort to actually, legitimately cook again. Sure, there will be nights where I have to “assemble” dinner rather than actively cook it, but, for the most part, I want to get away from that.

I have never eaten junk food really.

I gained all the weight with my son simply by eating TOO much. I was consuming more than I was expending.

It wasn’t junk (OK, except for my peanut butter addiction that I STILL cannot shake).

Cooking was always an event in my family growing up.

My grandmother on my mother’s side taught me how to properly boil and shuck a lobster – and that half the fun of eating a lobster is the mess you get to make.

My grandfather on my Dad’s side taught me how to make fry bread biscuits and the best baked beans you have ever tasted. He would work all day long on those beans, and the fry bread would come together in mere minutes right at the end. The key, he told me, was the batter – screw that up and your bread won’t fry properly and will burn on the outside too fast and not cook on the inside.

My Aunt makes mac and cheese with onions in it because that’s the way her mother made it.

My Uncle’s bisque is never, ever burned or lumpy, and it’s always tastiest after a long day on the lake when it has turned slightly foggy and cold outside.

My mother makes meatloaf with day old bread and breadcrumbs – no ketchup and a few strips of bacon on the top – because her mother made it that way, and my father improvises spaghetti by adding a little bit of everything to the meaty sauce (I do the same).

I have a recipe book with all of my grandmother’s recipes in it, and it’s been a long time since I busted it out.

Last night I made broiled Atlantic salmon over a simple salad. It wasn’t fancy, but it felt good to have time to spend chopping vegetables and prepping a piece of fish.

Note to self: Make Grandma’s banana bread with littleman, but be sure to hide it once we make it, if he’s anything like me, he’ll want to eat the whole loaf in one sitting.

I need to write all the recipes that have been passed down to me before I forget them.

I always say that I’ve always felt it’s in my blood to document life; apparently it’s in my stomach, too.



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