I didn’t necessarily learn how to cook out of passion or interest it just kind of happened, and turned into a pure obsession for all things food.
My husband and I knew nothing about cooking and the most impressive thing I could make was the cookie recipe off the back of the Nestle Tollhouse chocolate chips. And please tell me I’m not the only one who pronounces it Nestley Toulouse thanks to Phoebe Buffay. My obsession for Friends runs deep. So needless to say my world was changed forever when I discovered what I could actually make from scratch, and all the information and recipes that are available.
When my husband I got married we both had almost zero experience with cooking and even grocery shopping. I remember our first trip we went together we were so lost. We had no list, no meal prep, no clue at all what we were doing. We lived off Top Ramen and Hamburger Helper, not just because we were young, broke 22 year olds, but because it was all we knew how to prepare.
Our major introduction to real cooking started when my husband joined a Crossfit gym a few years into our marriage and attended a class on the paleo diet. He stopped at the grocery store on the way home with bags of veggies, meat and some seasoning and goes “well, this is how we are eating now.” No more Top Ramen for us.
We spent the next few months learning how to prepare meat, chop and cook veggies and learning the differences between various spices. We stuck to paleo for almost a year but our love for other great foods (bread) was just too strong and something we missed.
We did pretty good for about five years cooking as much as we could but I still had a lot to learn. When I had my second child we decided it was finally a good time for me to stay home with the kids. It was something we had been dreaming about for years and felt it was the right time to transition. When the time came to figure out how to financially make it happen the first item on the list was to cook more meals at home. It was just too easy some days to grab dinner on my way home from work, but that was something we just couldn’t afford to do anymore.
I always enjoyed cooking but never dreamed it would turn into the obsession it currently is. I decided if I was going to commit and start being the sole chef in our house, I wanted to have quality tools that could help grow my new skills. I took my last paycheck and purchased a quality set of All Clad stainless steel pots and pans and I hit the ground running.
I spent countless hours on blogs, watching Food Network, and checking books out of the library to learn all I could about my new role. The turning point for me in discovering what I could actually make fresh, from scratch occurred one night when I was making spaghetti and really wanted some breadsticks to go with it (because I love bread). At the time I had a three year old who was not the easiest to take, well anywhere, and a four month old on a very random feeding schedule. Going to the store for just bread seemed like way too much work.
So I scoured Pinterest and figured maybe I could find a way to make my own. I had a packet of active yeast from a failed attempt at cinnamon rolls early that year so I decided to just give it a try. I was blown away. The amount of time it took me to make the dough, let it rise, roll them out and bake was way less time AND effort than packing up my mini circus and heading out to the store. I thought to myself, if I could make that from scratch what else could I do?
Fast forward 4 years. Here I am at 32 years old, and at the point that I make all my own bread products from my sourdough starter Monica (yes from Friends), raising chickens for eggs, growing food, and cooking almost all our meals from scratch in cast iron. I have come a long way in 10 years from our Top Ramen with a poached egg days. I’m always researching new ways to grow in the kitchen and how I can find or make the freshest ingredients. I’m excited to share this passions with all of you!