Cooking, Learning, and Writing

I have decided to cook. As an aspiring writer, I have also decided to write about the experience of cooking. I know what you're thinking. I can picture you rolling your eyes and shaking your head. Believe me, I had the same reaction to the idea and I can whole-heartedly promise you I have no aspirations for this little blog to become the next Julie and Julia. What I am hoping to achieve here is a regular writing practice, and what better to write about than my learning projects? 

I am a lifelong learner coming upon the end of my twenty-third year of formal schooling. I'm currently a Ph.D. student working on my dissertation. I love school and research. I love learning and discovering new things. But like most doctoral students I require a few dissertation procrastination projects. Thus began my journey to learn French, learn to garden, learn to surf, and as of today: learn to cook. Yes, I admit to being a bit overly ambitious but nothing ventured nothing gained right?

The difference between my other projects and learning to cook is that I would rather do almost ANYTHING than learn to cook. I would take up archery or chess or even something terrible like running, literally anything! But the thing is, my husband has suffered from ulcerative colitis for over twelve years and last year he had his colon removed. This necessitates a different type of cooking and eating. We have always had a pretty clear cut division of labor in our household. He grocery shops and cooks; I clean the house and keep general order in our lives. I hate cooking but I love eating. Unfortunately our healthy eating endeavors have been stymied by my husband's love for sweets and by my lack of interest in preparing food. That being said, like most spouses, I want my significant other to live a long and healthy life. We hope to live to be 116-years-old so we can celebrate our 100-year dating anniversary in 2102. I have decided that if we are going to have a shot at 116, something has to change. And even though it goes against every fiber of my being (you should know, I'm prone to drama), I have decided that I must take matters into my own hands. Thus, learning to cook. 

My plan is to take over all of the grocery shopping and meal preparation; he will take over the cleaning and keeping life in order stuff. We will eat our separate breakfasts but will share lunches and dinners. I will be in charge of everything, no room for error on his part. I should say that I am not coming to this project with a complete lack of skills. I am capable of making basic things like scrambled eggs and toast. I have trouble with more complicated meals. If a single instruction is left out of a recipe, I always end up making assumptions that turn my masterpiece into a catastrophe. Also, I am painstakingly slow in the kitchen. If a recipe says it will take thirty minutes to prepare, it will take me a minimum of one hour. I attribute this to a lack of confidence and desire to be in the kitchen in the first place. But this is important. I have decided that this is a critical part of growing up, and of taking care of both myself and my family. I am determined.  

So, I will chronicle this endeavor, and any other little thoughts or ideas that come up along the way. I hope that by committing to this project and to writing about it at least once a week, I will grow in both my cooking and writing skills. I also (secretly) hope that by writing a weekly blog, I will develop the courage to post some of my actual writing online. So, here we go! I have the internet, accomplished family chefs, and several cookbooks to guide me. Peg Bracken's The I Hate to Cook Book sits at the ready. Wish me luck!


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  • Meg Raines

    Stephanie, I feel your pain in (almost) every way. The only difference is that I LOVE to cook but HATE to write (which is why I just joined SheWrites in hopes to muster up the nerve to write a cookbook). My husband was recently diagnosed with Cystinuria and we are recovering from his kidney surgery at the moment. He needs to eat a mostly plant based diet which is good news for me because I have been cooking plant-focused cuisine for many years. Now, if only I can get him to eat it ;-) So, I get it. If you need help with cooking please let me know (my email is [email protected]) or food photography because I do that too. And perhaps I can reach out to you for writing help?! Good luck with your journey to good health and delicious food!