Hot Mess: An Introduction

  Photo: Parenting Files.

Rejoice. For we have left behind dark mornings and numb fingers.  We have shed our wool sweaters and embraced the cotton T-shirt. We have passed by the thick, heavy stews for fresh salads and lemonade. And most importantly, we have discovered that there is more fruit in the world than just that sickly orange melon.

So rejoice. For now is the time for the frequent diner to become the chef.

Yes, I am well aware that no amount of motivation will make some of you enjoy cooking.  But I am hopeful that the majority of you like cooking, or have at least considered attempting it. Cooking is not an activity that will be enjoyed by everyone, but it is one of the few skills that everyone can do, (with varying degrees of success). In other words, you should never say you “can’t cook.” What you really mean is that what you cook doesn’t always taste good.

As you may be aware, I am very against using recipes as anything other than rough guidelines. From my perspective, you can’t learn to cook by doing what someone else tells you. There are basic rules of taste, general techniques, and practical functions of each ingredient, but everything beyond that is left for you to mess with. In fact, most of my experiences cooking haven’t been throwing things into a pan and presto-chango, the dish comes out perfectly. Instead it’s more like rummaging through the pantry, throwing things into a pan, tasting it, swearing, and figuring out how to save it. Simply put, the best way to learn to cook is by fixing things when they crash and burn (the latter quite literally). It should be no surprise then that I have subtitled this summer blog “Hot Mess.”

So if you’re looking for perfectly composed recipes that you can follow to the letter, I’m sorry I don’t play that way. I have my ideas for dishes, but they’re more like suggestions, not rules. When it comes to cooking, it doesn’t matter what you make as long as it tastes good. Just let that sink in.

So my foodies, though we may lose some of you along the way, it’s time to walk past the frozen food section, pick up a knife that will actually cut things, and figure out how to turn on the stove. I mean, it’s just cooking.  What could go wrong?