Okay...so I admit it, I'm not a good cook. The phrase that often follows a statement like this usually goes something like "but not for a lack of trying". However, the apt phrase that should follow my statement is "I'm not a good cook, but it is for a lack of trying". Over the years I have not been one to enjoy cooking. It was a task that needed to be completed in order to have food, and food, well, its kinda an important part of life. When I was single cooking a whole meal just seemed a bit of a waste of time, seeing it would be eaten alone in a matter of minutes. With a family, yes, there is more of a social aspect to it. But, its still eaten in a matter of minutes. Why practice, why put the time into it when I could buy something cheaply, relatively healthily and have it done with little to no effort? I discovered the reason why the other day.
I was in the process of making dinner for my family, because that's what you need to do when you're home on maternity leave. There is no excuse for me not to cook. I looked around my kitchen to see what ingredients we had to make dinner. Spaghetti, check. Pasta sauce, check. Onions, check. And some garlic. My intention was to do a simple spaghetti, but to saute some onions and garlic to add to the sauce. As I started cooking I looked around the kitchen. Sitting on the table just behind me was a bowl full of fresh, plump, juicy red tomatoes. I started dicing those up, they were the perfect ripeness, just soft enough so some extra juice ran out of them and onto the cutting board. I tossed those into the pan. I looked at my canned spaghetti sauce, basil and mushroom. I looked in the spice cupboard and decided to add some basil to the onions, garlic and tomatoes. The kitchen smelled alive with the aroma of the sauteeing ingredients. I did a quick taste, good, but something was missing. I added some more olive oil and a dash of salt. The tomatoes softened more. Another taste. Some more basil and a hint of oregano. I looked in my cupboard again. Yes, tomato paste. I added two spoonfuls. Tasted it again. A bit thick. Some more olive oil. Another taste. Perfect. It truly was perfection. No recipe. No canned pasta sauce. All me. I trusted my instincts. The smell...tomato, a hint of garlic, some basil. The taste. Fresh and alive. The meal. Amazing. Complicated? No, simple, but simply amazing. My discovery: I can cook!