Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Maggie's Make Believe Cooking Show

Today is smoke-free day 275, and from over at Skittle's Place (guest-hosted this week by Tidbits of the Tippets), it's Tuesday, Heads or Tails.

HEADS - Any part of (or place in) a house

You all have to know, don't you, that I am in love with My Kitchen?
(This got so long that I broke it into stinkin' chapters)

Idle Hands and All
A very oddball thing happened shortly after I did the Chantix thing and successfully started not smoking one day at a time. Suddenly, I started cooking. Partly it was something to do with my hands (and a way to grow my ass, not that I wanted that bonus perk), partly it was just a distraction to keep me continuously busy by searching for recipes and then shopping for the ingredients and then actually doing the cooking, and partly it was just that I've always loved to eat. Some people say that when you quit smoking your taste buds reawaken, and I suppose that could be true for some folks, but honestly, I don't think mine were ever asleep, even for a quick catnap, no matter how many years (20+, if you are curious) I smoked.

Simple Girl Can Read
Even if I've always loved eating, I really didn't used to like to cook. It was a chore, and I wasn't very good at it (ask my dad how he feels about Manwich and why...). Slowly my aversion to cooking started to soften and turn all fluffy and warm, and while I'm still not good enough at cooking to just wing it (or at least not with excellent results), I do just fine with fairly simple recipes calling for relatively simple ingredients (simple meaning I can find them, even if they are new to me, like joyful tahini), and I've come to actually enjoy cooking and trying new things.

Easily Amazed, Mysteries Solved, Fitting In, Having PMS
Standing in my kitchen I've discovered a whole other side of myself, and I've learned how amazing it is to turn simple ingredients into something wonderful. It's oddly empowering, and it builds my confidence, even when I'm just following someone else's instructions. It's a rush that I can't explain when something turns out just the way I'd hoped, or, better yet, even better than I dared hope. It's like cracking some mystery - ah! so that's how biscotti is made... There are so many places in my life where I just don't quite fit in, definitely more than I've talked about on my blog, but in my own kitchen, it's all mine and all my domain, complete with fun little kitchen toy gadgets (not a ton; just enough - things like heat-proof silicone spatulas or julienne peelers bring tears of joy to my PMS-ing eyes for reasons beyond reason - someday soon, for my birthday, perhaps, if Tom is reading from afar, even the long desired mandoline shall be mine, oh, yes).

Maggie's Make Believe Cooking Show (and Anal-ity)
I'll confess, sometimes I get out scads of tiny little bowls into which I measure ingredients in advance so that I can play "Maggie's Cooking Show." My kitchen has tons of lovely counter space (and I'm completely batshit), so it's so easy to pretend. Cleaning all those little bowls after my make believe time is kind of a bitch, but ya gotta pay to play, right? Gawd, I love my kitchen. When looking at any potential home, the kitchen's attributes matter enough that they are represented and scored on my anal spreadsheet that I really and truly do maintain when home hunting (pantry? counter space? claustrophobia inducing galley style, or the required open to living area so's I can breathe and maybe even watch a little TV while I cook style?)

Born a Few Decades Too Late (but then there also wouldn't be my other interests related to the internets and blogs and drive-by latte places... then what?)
I shouldn't even talk about this during "the apartness," but my favorite cooking has to be the kind I do for my man because there is nothing more special than to have someone make a meal tailored to your finickiness liking, and it's a gift I can give Tom that he always fully appreciates. It's instant gratification. I cook it, and he gets all happy saying that I'm all fabulous simply because I opened a few of the right kinds of cans and put them together as instructed in some good-sounding recipe. Cooking for my man is just plain awesome. Sometimes I bring him little samples as I go, just to see the smile I can elicit simply by cooking for him, letting him know he's loved, meat and potatoes and brownies for dessert style loved. (Yes, if I could choose, I'd give my eye teeth to be all old-fashioned, staying at home, cooking for my man and being barefoot and pregnant in the kitchen wearing nothing but my Hello Kitty apron; sometimes life is an unfair bitch sandwich that sticks annoyingly between the teeth; I *do* actually own a Hello Kitty apron, though, and that's very cool. Well, to someone like me it is, so just leave me to my madness).

Sharing is Caring
With all this kitchen talk and since I've posted tons of pictures and links to recipes on my blog, it's only fair to point you to a place where I keep (almost) every recipe I've mentioned all in one place, and that's in my "I Made It" cookbook over on Recipezaar.com. Every recipe in there is something I've made, reviewed and rated (good, bad or middlin'), and the website lets you do all kinds of cool sorting and sifting of the recipes based on ratings, ingredients, equipment, simplicity, frugality, etc. There are lots of goodies in there, and almost all of them are easier than I expected. Remember, I have no clue how to actually cook, just how to read good recipes.

The End Already, Sheesh
I'm hungry. Back to my kitchen I go.


  1. I absolutely LOVED this post!!! I love to eat and can follow a simple recipe. I'm excited to go over to your link with all the recipes! I can always use something new to make!

  2. Oh, what a fun read this is! Congrats on the non-smoking!

  3. Congrats on smoke-free day 275! You ROCK! Thanks for the great read also!

    Happy HoT Tuesday, Maggie!

  4. How clever are you? I mainly traded my cigarettes for ready-made things like powdered donuts, so I say if you're going to grow your ass, at least you're learning something while you're at it. I get such a kick thinking of your cooking show - too funny.

    Maybe I'll have to try that now... My mother always wondered why I didn't inherit a love of cooking, maybe it was the Paula Deen delusions that were missing all along.

  5. I personally think those who don't get excited about eating good food [and I've known a few] are weird. LOLOLOL And a place to cook is a great room in the home!!!

    My H o T is posted, a place in my heart today is shared. Come by if you haven't already, I'd love to have you join me on my special day.

  6. Miss M you always put a smile on my face - especially when I need it most. I absolutely loved what you wrote here. You are such a great write - I can just about picture you busily measuring, chopping, and mixing away. You are so awesome!

  7. I've so much enjoyed reading this post.

    You can find my entry ::here::

    Have a great day!

  8. LOL I loved this post! Cooking and me are like this ||! It's so much fun :-)

  9. I love to cook! And I'm with you on the tastebud thing -- I don't think mine ever slept, however my husband's are starting to wake up. That helps when I cook for him.

    And I totally agree with you on the cooking for someone subject ... cooking for yourself is okay, at least you get to enjoy eating it. But it's sooo much better when there's someone eating what you cooked, telling you how great it tasted.

  10. What a great post! Thanks for the :)
    Happy Tuesday!

  11. You are too funny.
    My dh and I when renovating our old house, would play "This Old House". We switched roles of Norm or Bob Vila depending on the fix it we were undertaking. It reduced lots of stress.

    Your cooking show could have gone on while we were working. It would have made a great combination!

    Mine is about growing up in a Victorian House. Stop by if you wish to have a tour and some treats!

  12. Oh gosh.. I can't imagine how big I would get if my taste buds woke up. LOL!

  13. Could you come give me cooking lessons? :-)

  14. I hope soon the apartness is done. Meantime you are doing awesome, I am so proud of you. I'll say it again and again, you are my hero!

  15. There is so much to comment on, but I'm going to just think about changing simple things into something wonderful and nurturing. That change is amazing to me and fascinates me. There are endless combinations of things we can do there. The math alone astounds me!


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