The Joy of Cooking

Granola Goodness

As I’ve no doubt mentioned before on this blog, it’s all or nothing with me and chores, or pretty much anything to tell the truth. Which is why the simple chicken soup planned for my sickly, sneezing family turned into a baking and broiling marathon of such epic heat that mere mortals had to get the heck out of the kitchen.

Left to my own devices while my spouse spent the first day of his annual winter head cold in bed, I drove a potholed obstacle course to my grocery store for provisions that I had either forgotten or denied that I needed. Upon return, unfrequented cupboards were flung open and out came a box of neglected raisins covered by dust from the ancients, an assortment of hoarded gluten-free flours, various coconut-based elixirs and a whole lot of foodie attitude leftover from the 90s.

Dinner still far enough off to procrastinate, I decided to use up massive amounts of rolled oats collected in a fit of food virtue by trying out that homemade granola recipe I’d squirreled away somewhere on my laptop. And after scrolling saved downloads in the tens of thousands, why not print out instructions for some GF scones I’d glimpsed in passing. This would also be a clever way to involve some shriveled currants that were even older than the raisins, and besides, the oven was on anyway.

And so, with every pan and bowl and utensil stickily engaged in the good fight, granola burning to a nice crisp on baking sheets, food processor belching wheat-less puffs of pasty promise, a chicken breast I forgot to thaw for the soup thumping around in my microwave, I discovered that I was in over my head, drowning in dishwater overflowing a sink crowded with dirty little secrets.

Where had my cooking mojo gone? I ruefully realized that over the years my husband had slowly slipped into the role of family cook, as my motherly pressures to feed a toddler faded, and demands from a public service job increased. My waning interests in cable cooking shows and fancy gourmet magazines were replaced by elimination diets and autoimmune protocols.

I am rusty. I have to start over in this kitchen, get comfortable again with that dance inside a magic triangle of stove, sink and fridge. Ingredients may be different but timing is the same. So what if the granola is a little dark, scones a bit dry, and the soup has too much black pepper. I can’t let silly mistakes and food intolerances shut down the satisfaction of filling containers with tasty fare that I make possible.

As for those coming weeks and years of culinary adventures, I resolve to trim off my fears, simmer some experience, and stock up on joy.

9 thoughts on “The Joy of Cooking

  1. Linda

    Tamara– that was so funny and so fun to read– you descriptive writings are fun and since I can picture you in your kitchen it makes it funnier to read!

    1. Thanks Linda! I hope to brush up on my skills this spring so that the rest of the family is smiling and not running for the hills. I don’t think they were amused by what I gave them to eat last night!

  2. Shirah

    Oh how I identify with you in my own way. I keep researching all my old Laurel’s Kitchen, The Magic Broccoli Forest and those many other wholesome earth sensitive cookbooks of times past gathering dust on my book shelves. But, for me, the joy of mass feedings is gone for a time. It will return. Look what happened to you one fine day!

  3. Hilarious! Thank you for starting my day with a laugh! I understand everything you describe so perfectly — those culinary skills we once had have gone the way of the primordial raisins. And cooking for food intolerances is like having two families to cook for. I look forward to reading more about you and the magic triangle!

    1. The wonderful goodies you serve at teas have inspired me to try again with ingredients I can handle, Maureen. And primordial is such a great word for those raisins. Wish I’d thought of that one!

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