What is it that I enjoy so much about cooking?
Why, when I get home from an 8 hour shift at work and after playing with the dog, do I want to cook? Maybe it's the relaxation I find in cooking. After helping people with computer problems all day it is nice to just put on XM Chill, and lose myself in the kitchen.
What am I making? Who cares? To be honest, I don't even worry if the end product is edible. There is always Pizza Hut if I really mess something up.
Prep work is probably my favorite part. Cleaning the veggies, mincing up the garlic and rosemary, grinding spices in the mortar, and spicing the protein.
The moment when room-temperature meat hits a preheated pan? Makes me grin every time. Tossing veggies around like they do on cooking shows? Makes me feel like I might be getting the hang of this whole cooking thing. Being able to pick out the flavors of everything that I put in, and determine what needs improvement next time around? Makes me feel like a fancy son-of-a-gun.
On the blog I post all the meals that turned out really good. Things that aren't just your run-of-the-mill dinners, but something that is memorable. The road isn't all puppies and sunshine though. There are plenty of meals that trainwreck into a mass of nearly-inedible food, and that is okay.
Lemon chicken that you can't taste the chicken in? Yeah that was me, and my mouth still puckers whenever I think about it. Pork tenderloin that is so tough you can't cut through it? Been there, attempted to eat that.
And then there are times when it isn't fun to cook. Making potato latkes for example. Sure it is easy to make these, but spending the next hour in front of a wok full of hot oil dipping the little bastards in and flipping. Baby-sitting them so that they don't get overcooked, but are still moist in the inside? Getting oil EVERYWHERE, and accidentally creating a small oil fire on the stove? Sure, it makes a great story to tell your co-workers, but cleaning up after that mess was less than fun.
In the end it might just be the fact that I don't have to THINK about cooking that I enjoy so much. All I have to do is react to cooking. If the porkchop is cooking faster than I want, turn down the heat. If the mashed potatoes don't taste right add another pinch of salt.
And I'm sure there will be a day when the flames of my cooking desire go out, but for now I am content to just let it sizzle, take a few pictures, try to learn a thing or two, and hopefully leave myself satiated.
Food Photoset (up to 88 pictures now!)