Warming Up Food is Not Cooking

I have decided that at the ripe age of 29, it’s time that I learn how to cook.  My boyfriend recently informed me (much to my surprise) that throwing a frozen Bertolli meal into a pan and heating it up does NOT count as cooking, bursting the self-made illusion I had that doing so made me some sort of domestic goddess. In my mind, it counted as cooking – I mean, in the end we had food to eat, so did it really matter if I spent 5 minutes heating up this frozen chunk of food, or if I spent an hour painstakingly preparing fresh ingredients for the same outcome? Apparently, yes.

I was just never interested in cooking.  To me food was always an inconvenience – something I had to do to make my stomach stop grumbling.  Anybody who has eaten with me knows I find it best to just mindlessly shovel it into my mouth and be done with it (prompting many a waitress to condescendingly exclaim: “Wow, you finished already!?”)  I always just found it easiest and most satisfying to eat something like cereal for every meal.  Or cake.  Or a peanut butter and jelly sandwich – like I said, the result wound up the same as if I had dirtied my kitchen, spent hours preparing a meal, time tracking down specific ingredients, and standing over the stove, so I just didn’t see the point of doing all that when I could just eat me some Lucky Charms.  I mean, I have other stuff to do.  As friends and family talked about the homemade food they made, and the time and money and effort spent on doing so, I secretly patted myself on the back for being smarter than them. My stomach was just as full as theirs, AND I had less dirty dishes.  Suckers.

Recently, something in me clicked. I don’t know what it was. Maybe it was my biological destiny to one day want to cook – after all, my grandfather opened a restaurant in 1955 that is still going strong today, and my dad, brothers, cousins, aunts and uncles all work there (I never did – but I did peel a ton of potatoes as punishment for one thing or another) which leads me to believe it’s somehow ingrained in the family blood – in fact, recently my brother, a graduate of the prestigious Culinary Institute of America, has opened his own restaurant out in California (CalTerra in Atascadero, CA) Or maybe it was my boyfriend’s desperate pleas for “real” food that didn’t have ingredients such as butylated hydroxyanisole. Or who knows, maybe I watched Ratatouille one too many times, figuring I wasn’t going to let some CGI rat show me up.

Whatever the reason is, I have decided to learn, finally, how to cook. It will be tricky – I have a mostly empty fridge, mostly empty pantry, missing a lot of crucial cooking utensils, and the oven part of my stove has been broken for a few months. Oh, and extremely limited knowledge about cooking as a whole, other than uncooked chicken might make someone sick, and if you forget about food cooking it might start a fire. But somehow I still think I can do this.

Food Blogger Erin Mcpartlan

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