Home Cooking

Cooking for yourself

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Home Cooking 21

Cooking for yourself

Will Owen | Aug 10, 2006 01:59 AM

This is an exercise in knitting several threads together: What You Wouldn't Serve To Anyone Else, Favorite School Cafeteria Food, Things That Don't Quite Make Me Puke...

I read many times over the assertion that people don't really COOK if it's just for them. I do not understand that at all. I am one of my favorite chefs and my own best customer. I know what I like and don't, how much of what I can or will eat, which culinary rules can be glossed over or forgotten completely. Mrs. O, even as we speak, is off in Grand Rapids enjoying the company of her fellow button collectors, and do I languish here in sorrow? No; though it's certainly true that I'd rather she be here than not, I do like the fact that I can fry eggplant, cook sweet peppers, boil up a mess of greens, and do a whole lot of other culinary exercises that produce foods which she does not enjoy. And I can share these things with a man who truly loves them: me.

Just this past half-hour, for instance, I assembled two gratin dishes. One was simply leftover steamed broccoli with a cheese sauce and crumbs. The other combined a range of leftovers: first a bed of mashed potato, then a layer of a skillet dish I made a few months back and froze, consisting of macaroni, canned beans, shredded pork, tomatoes, onion and some powdered chile. Yes, macaroni over potatoes. Got a problem with that? The chef doesn't, nor does his customer. And if it turns out to be crap, the chef will not take the criticism personally.

I think of it as a sort of audition...

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