Not-So Clever Thoughts Recipes

If you can’t handle the heat…

Oh but I can.

New cook

My about me states that I am a novice cook and baker, this is wholly accurate. In my life, I have never really cooked, much less actually baked something. Sure, I have made mac & cheese from a box on the stove and yes, I have baked cookies from the refrigerated cookie dough section of Walmart (thanks Pillsbury) but I have never really had any desire to go beyond that. In college, I ate salads with turkey or grilled chicken already prepared or I would heat up a frozen dinner (or head to campus for Chick-Fil-A).

Well, now I am married and that just doesn’t cut it anymore. And guess what? I am thrilled that it doesn’t! I was tired of my complacency of not knowing how to do a single thing in the kitchen. I’m reminded of the bridal shower I was given by my aunt and nanny last summer…after opening many of my gifts from my thoughtful friends and family, I remember asking more than once “And what does this do again?” I was really that clueless.

In October 2012 after saying “I do”, I left fear and second-guessing at the double-swinging kitchen door and vowed to make myself into a cook that my grandmother’s would be proud of.

My paternal grandmother (I called her “Seto”, the Arabic word for grandma) was a master of all traditional Arabic cuisine including Mansaf (the official meal for Jordan) which is lamb with rice and pine nuts, grapeleaves, and stuffed cabbage.

On the other hand, my maternal grandmother (Nanny) is a southern dish genius. She can whip it up in my opinion better than Paula Deen. Nanny is a pioneer of slow cooked roast beef, turkey and dressing, corn bread, and fresh fried okra. And don’t get me started on her desserts…her baking ability almost surpasses her savory dishes. Hungry yet? I’m starving just thinking about her food.

Lady in purple: Stunning image of my Nanny on my wedding day
Lady in purple: Stunning image of my Nanny on my wedding day

With all of this culinary talent running through our veins, it is a wonder why my mother didn’t learn to cook southern fried goodness and why I never picked up the talent for Middle Eastern dishes or some good ole’ fried chicken with mashed potatoes and gravy.

But I am a lucky woman because my husband (who like any other man appreciates a home cooked meal) knew and accepted my lack of kitchen know-how before we were married. But I digress…

Where was I? Oh yes…I said “I do”…left fear at the door…and vowed to become the next Food Network cooking star (not really).

I have been married nearly 5 months now and I am so glad to say I have kept my promise. It’s been hard at times teaching myself to cook (from scratch) but I have had excellent help along the way in the form of my Nanny, my aunt, and countless recipe websites instructing me on what to do and how to do it. But mostly, I have been experimenting, creating, and spending way too much money on ingredients having a blast!

I have found a part of myself in the kitchen that I didn’t know before. I don’t want to go as far to say that it is a form of catharsis but cooking is an art, right? And practicing your art is described as cathartic, right? Right! At the very least, it is a relaxing part of my day and I thoroughly enjoy preparing dinner or staying up until midnight baking a pound cake (see last night).

All of this is to say that no matter how scared you are, how new something might be, or just cause you have never tried it before does not in any way, shape or form, mean that it isn’t for you. Life is all about the new experiences. For me, this includes cooking and baking but it can also mean marriage, a new job, city, reaching out to an old friend, trying out that roller coaster at Six Flags this Spring, or as simple as reading an autobiography or watching a documentary. Who knows? It might just be your thing this whole time and you had no idea. Because the last thing I ever, ever, in a million years expected was to be good at, much less, like, cooking. But I do. On both counts.

PS My husband is thrilled!

My culinary journey is just beginning. I will begin posting recipes to this blog as I discover and try them.

Be fearless and bold. Try what you’ve long been afraid to try and embrace all that life has to offer.

Would love to hear your feedback and comments. Have you added some new activity to your life recently? If so, how is it going?

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