My friend who just got engaged recently messaged me after her engagement party:
“I got 3 cookbooks. You know what that means…”
I told her she’d be fine, naturally, as we all know where my cooking skills stood while I was engaged.
Let’s just say, there were none. My cooking life motto today is “you learn fast, or you go hungry,” and no-one wants to go hungry.
The kitchen was the place I ate dinner at home. I never joined in on cooking, and I don’t even recall my mom asking me to help, because she’d probably have gotten a big no. I could not boil pasta, I could not make rice, and I can’t explain the joy on our parents’ faces when we received not one, but four toasted cheese machines for our engagement! (don’t worry, we took two back). Everyone pitied Greg, who couldn’t cook anything either may I add, wondering what this grown boy would be eating for the rest of his life.
We never cooked for the first few weeks of being married. During the week of Sheva Brachot, the week commencing the wedding, we small dinner parties were hosted in our honour at different friends and family. They also gave us all the leftovers, so we were pretty sorted for a long, long time.
And when all the leftovers were finished, we needed to learn to cook. We actually went to a friend one night who taught us to cook fish and roast vegetables. Literally. How to roast freaking vegetables. I think I even struggled to cut the butternut. It’s really funny thinking back to those times. We’ve since been cooking fish and roast veggies like pros.
We barely cooked Shabbos supper for our first year of marriage because we were always invited out (ok, often we’d invite ourselves out too). Nowadays, we cook shabbos for 7 – 10 people like it’s no big deal (ok, it’s 10 purely because that’s how many we can fit around our table. Also, I think we only have 12 plates), and people at work always seem to think that I’m cooking crazy shabbos meals every week.
We’ve learnt to make some fancy, and even very simple foods. We make quiche without a base (because who has time to make all that pastry?), make our own delicious challah for shabbos, chicken a la king, risotto is a recent favourite, delicious fish, we’re having foreign friends over and making a South African bobotie.
I wouldn’t even quite go so far as saying I love cooking. I do like to eat though, and I like to try new things sometimes. More than cooking, I like entertaining, and cooking up nice things for guests. I even find baking a mission – even though I somehow got this reputation as a baker – all those measuring utensils, spoons, bowls etc that need to be cleaned? But I do love a good or impressive dessert. Greg on the other hand actually likes cooking. Guys, I kid you not when I tell you we were useless. The other week we even bought egg poacher pod things, and had poached eggs for the first time!
When I think about it, we’ve come a long way in our little food journey over the last few years. I’m telling you, I still surprise myself.
Do you remember the first few things you learnt to cook?