Learning to Cook: Coach's Corner

Since I've been deemed Larry's "cooking coach", I've been thinking a lot about how to cook. And it's been a great challenge. There is so much that is involved in cooking that has become habitual and that I completely take for granted.

As I think about different cooking techniques or concepts, I have to slow down, break things down and find ways to explain things without assuming anything. I try to think back to how I learned to cook and I can't remember how I learned. Because I'm not formally trained, a lot of my skills have come from just watching (my Grandmas, my mum, PBS cooking shows on Saturdays), tasting and reading. What gels it all together is getting right into the food and cooking and experiementing. I was lucky enough that my family encouraged and embraced my curiosity and interest in food and that they let me get involved in cooking family meals or special treats.

Now it's my turn to instill a sense of interest and curiosity about cooking and food in general. It's great fun for me to be able to share my knowledge (some of it quite trivial) of all aspects about food and cooking: where to shop, details about ingredients (what they taste like, where they're produced, what are they used for...), how things are grown, different cooking techniques, meal planning, cooking tips and tricks...

In my zealous enthusiasm, I also have to step back and do a reality check: I've become a bit of a purist. Most of what I cook is from scratch and I invest in a lot of cooking time (slow food stuff) that most "normal" people don't have interest in doing. I need to keep reminding myself that there are some convenience items that are perfectly fine to use to make cooking easier and enjoyable.