Wednesday, 3 April 2013

It's all real

I was going to write a post about Easter and the yummy food that we ate.  I was going to show you the lovely lemon tart that I made and tell you all about how good it was, how I have finally been able to make pastry again.  I may still write about these things at some point.  But as I sat down to write this post, I felt that what I really needed to write about was what being a home cook means to me and why it and this blog is such a big part of my life.

You see, I follow food blogs. I look at their beautiful pictures and read their well written posts.  I marvel at their photographic abilities and their skill in the kitchen.  I feel envious at times of their fame and wonder if anyone even reads this blog.  And even though I think I'm a pretty good cook,  I feel inadequate at times when I compare myself to others, and I wonder, do my readers, whoever they are also feel inadequate by what I put out there?  I watched this really inspiring documentary and in one part of it, one of the executives from the Food Network acknowledges that most people aren't going to recreate many of the recipes that they see on their favourite chef show.  That mearly watching the show is enough for them to feel like they are a part of the cooking world, even if they still end up eating their frozen dinner that night.

This unfortunately isn't going to change how we eat, in fact it may actually harm the intention.  I know people like Jamie Oliver want to get people moving in their kitchens again.  He has devoted a large part of his life to inspiring home cooks to rattle some pots and pans and make real food at home.  I have a great deal of respect for what he is doing.  But my feeling is that people are overwhelmed by him and by many of those glossy TV chefs.  Gone are the days when Julia Child would show you how to make an onion soup in real time, even as she spilt things on her counter like we might do in our own kitchens.  Eye candy has taken the place of instruction and it is not working.  Nowadays many home cooks don't have the basic skills or knowledge that they need in the kitchen, it just wasn't taught to them. Without this it is like trying to read a french novel if you don't speak the language.  The kitchen and cooking itself can become a confusing, sometimes even terrifying landscape. Those cooking shows (except for maybe Nigella Lawson who does teach you how to make her food slowly) are food porn, we all know it.  And like real porn, no one ever learned how to be a good lover by watching four people get it on with bad music in the background.

What I aim to do here in what I share with you is not to be a show off for my wonderful cooking skills.  I'm not a chef.  I've never been formally trained, I am self taught and I make mistakes.  However, I am constantly learning and challenging myself to do something new and out of my comfort zone.  I am in a self-imposed cooking school in my own kitchen and I love it.  What I post here is food we eat as a family.  It is food that I love to eat, which is the most important motivator in the kitchen.  And while I do try to take a nice picture of my food, it isn't done in a studio and it usually is taken just before we are going to eat it.

So if you are just starting to cook, or if you have been cooking for a long time,  rest assured that everything here is real, there are no smoke and mirrors.  I use trusted recipes, that I often adapt to my own taste as can you.  If something doesn't turn out for you, don't give up.  Sometimes we need to cook things a few times before we get the hang of it and make it our own. Or email me and ask me, I've helped a few people even one on the phone while she was at the store trying to figure out what kind of chocolate to buy.  Cooking to me is like art, and my kitchen is my sandbox.  It is a creative process for me with a big payoff.  However, I do acknowledge that I feel that way because I have some sense of confidence in the kitchen.  That confidence came with time, trial and lots of error and a fundamental appreciation for sharing a meal with those that I love.  What I hope to do here is to inspire you to get connected with your food, gain some confidence in the kitchen and be willing to try something new.  The world doesn't need another chef.  What this world needs is men and women cooking at home again with the same love and care that our grandmothers did and passing that onto our children. That comes from us helping and inspiring each other, my hope is that what you read here will do just that.  Be brave, we all started somewhere, you might just surprise yourself!


  1. I haven't read your blog for a long time but I am glad I popped by today for this is one of the best days to do something about my inward complaining about the lack of healthy, affordable snacks for my kids in the stores and make some of my own. Also this makes me want to go and drink Earl grey tea with you again someday. Happy cooking on this chilly, dreary day.

  2. Thanks Melodie. I would love to meet you for a tea again sometime soon. I know, it is hard to find stuff in the stores for our kids that aren't junk or don't cost a fortune. Let me know what you end up making, maybe we can share some snack ideas! Happy cooking to you too.