I get my adventurous spirit in the kitchen from my mother. She would search cookbooks and magazines for the latest recipes and, with no fear, whip up quiches (when they were all the rage), mousses, and other dishes quite unknown along the quiet banks of the bayous of South Louisiana in the 1970’s. She ran a small cake business for a while which was both a curse and blessing to my brother and I. A home filled with the wonderful scent of freshly baked cake, with not a slice in sight for us. There were scraps to be had when she made the layers even, and those were gobbbled down as quickly as the plate was laid on the counter.
During the late 1970’s and early 1980’s she baked homemade bread on a regular basis–heavenly with butter as an after school snack and for breakfast. Golden loaves cooling on the counter were a wonderful sight for a child who loathed school lunches and usually skipped them. I’m sure she would tell you a few were inedible in the beginning, but as with all things practice makes perfect. And lest you think things always went well, there was the black bean soup incident. Be sure the lid is securely on the blended before you flip the switch to purée your black beans, if not, dinner will drip from the ceiling and cabinets….take out from Popeye’s Fried Chichen was our replacement meal that night. And yet we still all giggle when we recall the thick black soup raining down from the kitchen ceiling, Mom poised at the blended, finger still perched on the red off button.
And fear not Mom, my disasters in the kitchen were of epic proportion too. There was the rush to make cupcakes for Lauren’s class one night, in my hurry I left the mixer on high after creaming the sugar and butter….eggs added to a mixer on the high setting result in eggs on a wall….ok, a couple of walls! Or the fascinating idea that one can easily transport a large pot of hot soup from the kitchen to the dinning room, where children have been playing all rainy afternoon, did I mention the Lincoln Logs strewn all over the dining room floor? Yes, they ended up in a river of vegetable soup and so did I. We had Chinese take out that night….
My point? It is far less important how your dish turns out than the experience you gain from trying something new and different. My first experience with tofu was awful, it went in the trash. I made some mental notes, did some research, called my sister-in-law’s mom who was a vegetarian for 20 years and tried again, and again and again. It took me about six tries to get a batch that I liked the tasteof. That’s been the case for many of the new things I have tried. I’ve learned far more from my mishaps than my instant successes. As I grew more adept in the kitchen, those experiences were fewer and farther between, but the lessons continue to help me.
Be fearless! The worst thing that can happen is your recipe won’t turn out to be edible and you’ll have take out or sandwiches. You will learn something new, have a new experience, and maybe, if you’re lucky, a great family memory that makes you smile 30 something years later.
Want to give it a go but don’t have any ideas? Pick an ingredient and then do an internet search for that ingredient and add something. So let’s say your ingredient is cauliflower. Search: cauliflower Indian recipe or cauliflower casserole recipe. You’ll discover new recipes, new websites, new spices, you my discover a new family favorite!
Let me know what you discover on my Facebook page, I’d love to hear what you find!