Thursday, November 10, 2011

Who Are You and Where Is My Wife?

Lunch Break On Flat Creek Trail - Great Smoky Mountains National Park
November 6, 2011

It happened almost one month ago and I'm still afraid that other woman is going to disappear, but decided to write about it anyway.  Perhaps it was the wonderful influence from so many of you.  Perhaps it was the first serious bout of winter like weather.  Perhaps it was the final straw in my desire to know where most, if not all, of my food is REALLY coming from.  Perhaps it was just time!!  

Whatever the reason, it happened suddenly and Mr. B has now realized that the other woman is my kitchen who looks a lot like me really IS me.  On Thursday, October 13, I stepped into the kitchen, started cooking and haven't looked back.  The biggest surprise of all is that I'm having fun and that is a first.  

A bit of background might be in order.  My mother was/is many things, but a domestic individual was NOT one of them.  She worked hard at the same job until she retired and was actively involved in many activities away from our home.  Her mother died when she was two and although always loved, her life until she left for college was unstable at best.  There was no one to teach her any type of domestic skills and believe me, to this day, she STILL possesses NO domestic skills.  It is from her that I inherited my independence and innate love for travel. I am eternally grateful for that, but the downside is that she never taught either my sister or me how to boil an egg mainly because she didn't know how to do that herself.  

It is no surprise that I am not, not have I ever been, comfortable in or even interested in spending much time in the kitchen.  No surprise (or was it a miracle!!  LOL!) that both my sister and I gravitated  towards men who LOVE to cook and like having that responsibility!  

Through the years, I've gone through spurts where I would make an effort to learn basic cooking skills, but I was an upwardly mobile career woman myself and simply didn't have time for anything else in my life, much less something in which I had no interest to start with.  

So I was not offended when Mr. B was skeptical the first night he came in and a lovely dinner was waiting for him.  Nor did I flinch when he laughed the second night he came in and dinner was waiting for him.  But on the third night, when he walked in and smelled nice things from the direction of the dining room, he looked at me and said, "who in the heck are you and where is my wife?"  We laughed so hard over that one and are STILL laughing three weeks later.

I should have kept a log of the things I've made so you could be properly impressed just for fun, but I didn't and now, my aged memory is failing me!  I also have tried to remember what triggered the whole thing.  I THINK it was the first true cold snap we had and I decided early that morning I wanted soup for dinner.  I wanted to use my crockpot and I didn't want to go to the store, so I had to have all the ingredients.  

Enter and its"ingredient" search.  I put in my list and up popped 38 choices.  I remember thinking, "ooh, what fun!"  And several hours later, served what must've been good because Mr. B is still raving about it.  We both love soup and he enjoys taking it for lunch, so with that first success behind me, I decided to try a new soup recipe each week this fall/winter.  So far, I've made a Pasta Fagioli (which really did taste just like Olive Garden's), Bean Soup and Chicken Mushroom Soup.  I've also made three different kinds of muffins/breads using fresh cranberries, blueberries and pumpkin I had in the freezer.  I have made applesauce and restocked my freezer with fresh pumpkin.  I truly wish I'd kept that log - you really would be impressed.

But here is the thing of which I'm most proud.  I'm picky about what I eat and it's getting worse!  I think the continuing list of wide-spread food borne illnesses across the US along with the ever increasing list of problems with food items that have been improperly stored and/or transported hundreds/thousands of miles has really made a final impression on me that I cannot overcome.  I want to 1) know where my food has come from, 2) eat it in the purest form that I possibly can without added ingredients I can't pronounce or identify, and 3) support local farms/farmers.  I don't want to eat apples I buy at Sam's that have travelled from Washington state when I can eat apples fresh from the tree that I buy at an orchard 45 minutes from my house.

So, if you'll excuse me..............that orchard is exactly where I'm headed today.  The season is running short and from that orchard, I need enough apples to make more applesauce, more pumpkin and my winter supply of a variety of squash all of which I will purchase in full view of where it was actually grown!   

And then, I've got a delicious dinner to prepare later this afternoon.   Perhaps, we'll continue this subject in the next post.  Mostly because I'm not done talking about it, but the sun has come up and my feet are itching to get to that orchard.

You guys, to whom I give partial credit for this, are going to have to help me.   I am totally overwhelmed by all the resources available on the internet.  How in the world do you choose recipes to try and then store or save them in a way that allows you to find them later?  Right now, there are eight tabs open on my computer, six of which are recipes I'm afraid I'll not be able to find again if I close the tabs.  My computer is about to explode!

Who taught you how to cook and do you enjoy it? 


  1. Good for you, Sharon. Cooking is a passion of mine, as well. Copy and paste those recipes you like into a word document and file them in a folder any way that's good for you.

  2. That is a terrific new hobby! I have to confess that I never enjoyed coking or even grocery shopping much. But now that I am well on my way to better health, I enjoy both and often. I, too, have had dinner reday and wiating for my hubby when he comes home from work. I think he is over the shock. I am not sure if it will last once I go back, but it is fun. Karen, you know which one, sent me the recipe for pinto beans that she makes. I made them and have also now made split bean soup twice, pizza from scratch 5 times (grandbabies!) and a whole host of lovely treats made with applesauce and other low fat ingredients. I am have so much fun, too! So, welcome to a new and lovely world of cooking with good health in mind!

  3. What a lovely post, what a lovely development in your life, and what an amazing photo that's worthy of a scrapbook or framing. This post just makes me smile... it's a great way to start my day!

    Cooking --- I do it some, but I think I fumble around and play more than anything else. Cooking is kind of like art. Sometimes, it resembles reality and supposed standards. Sometimes, it's more abstract and individual. Most of the things I know I've learned either from my mother or Food Network.

  4. LOVE that photo!!

    No one taught me and I hate it. My mom though is and was a great cook. I don't know why she never taught me and I never asked to learn. As an adult, I've asked for some recipes, and too many are the kind with no measurements. For Thanksgiving, it will be at my house but I've asked her to make the turkey and stuffing:)

    BTW - I love allrecipes. Try the lentil soup with lemon... that's the one I told you about while shopping at WF in LR.

  5. My grandmother taught me. My mother taught me a few, but I was too young to do anything but watch, really. And I love to read cookbooks and magazines. I love to swap recipes with friends. You could cut and paste those recipes. Make you a folder for Main Dishes, Breads, Soups & Salads, Favorites, Desserts, etc. and file them away. Or you could print them out and make a notebook with the clear plastic pages. I find this works better because I can keep it in the cabinet above my kitchen counter and also cut out the picture in the magazine, if there is one, so I know what it's supposed to look like. I'm so thrilled you're cooking!

  6. I love to cook. I learned from my mother and paternal grandmother. I am a very good cook and excellent baker. I'm known for tweaking recipes and never really making the same thing twice.

    I laid all of that aside when I started dieting. There was just too much temptation. I miss it and actually grieved for the baking since from childhood, I wanted to own a bakery.

    I am beginning to ease back in to the kitchen. But I feel like an alcoholic in a liquor store. I'm keeping my portions very small and my ingredients very pure. I hope to cook and eat 'normally' one day.
    PS Love the picture!

  7. LOL, good for you! My mom didn't teach me to cook, although she was a great cook herself. She didn't like us "bothering her" in the kitchen. I learned most of my cooking from my home ec course at school (and it drove mom nuts when I always wanted to "make stuff" in HER kitchen! LOL) That being said, I realized in my first week of marriage that my cooking repertoire wasn't very large, considering you can't serve cookies for dinner! Within the first 7 days of meals, I was making Kraft Dinner!! LOL I have come a long way! (KD is hardly ever served here now.)
    Funny but I have two daughters and one is domestic and one is the party-planner, go-getter, "do stuff" - and they were talking the other day about how they'll likely have children like the other one. The non-domestic said "that's okay, I'll get the domestic ones and enjoy it a lot!" haha They joke about how they'll trade jobs with each other when they're married! :) (one hates changing diapers so they say they'll invite the other one over a lot!)
    Good post (as usual). LOVE the pic!

  8. My mom didn't particularly like to cook, although she was a good cook. I don't remember her 'teaching' me to cook, but she was certainly willing to let me help, and then as I grew to let me take over and experiment in the kitchen.

    I'm so excited you are cooking and that you are enjoying it. I just bookmark recipes that interest me. Yes, my bookmark list is long, but I can still find them when I need them. I also search for a recipe by googling 'low fat _____' or low calorie _____.' It is overwhelming what is out there. I like it best when someone who I 'know' likes really great food has recommended or developed a recipe.

  9. When my sons were headed for middle school, I went to work full-time and that is when I made the switch from full, lovingly cooked melas to quick, good enough meals.

    Now that I am home again, I have rediscovered the satisfaction of chopping, peeling, dicing and simmering. :D I love making soup and other multi-step dinners again.

    Who taught me to cook? That's complicated. :} My mother always had complete and well-made dinners on the table when my dad got home at 4:30, so, she gave me a daily example of what dinners were supposed to look like, but the teaching came more from my grandmother.

    I don't recall ever seeing my mother do anything more than the last minute finish up of dinner. Oh. In that last minute finish up, I did learn how to make excellent mashed potatoes. :D hmmm. Probably not a good thing. chuckle.


  10. Good for you, Sharon!

    Both my parents, one grandmother and one grandfather are/were good cooks. My sister also likes to cook. Me? Not so much, but I do have spells of it. :)

    My post on today has a list of crockpot recipe resources. You might find it useful. As for storing recipe links, I have a folder set up in my bookmarks just for recipes. More recently (as in, the last few days), I've begun using Pinterest. It stores a photo of the recipe along with the link. I only have a few "pinned" but I can definitely see it blossoming into a situation where I need multiple "boards" by course or ingredient. :)

  11. I love, love, love this post! Cooking is like therapy for me - it's so rewarding to make something to share with people you love. I get some much joy from watching them eat a meal I have prepared.

    I am so happy for you!

    I copy and paste recipes into word documents and sight the source where I found them.Then you can create folders for the different categories to make it easier to locate them later.

    If you just want to bookmark the sites where the recipe is you can also create files of categories in your bookmarks section for example, soups, slow cooker, muffins and so on.

    There is software available for storing recipes. I have Mastercook on my computer and that is also the program I use to calculate nutritional information for my own recipes. You can create your own "cookbooks" with recipes that you find on the web. It has an import feature for that as well.

    Before I had that all figured out I would copy paste and print the recipe in a word document. Then I would hole punch the hard copy and file it in a 3 ring binder by category! This soon turned into 10 binders! I know, I know. I love recipes what can I say.

    My Grandmother and my mother influenced me to cook. I started cooking dinner for my dad and three brothers at the age of 10. My mom had to go to work at night to help make ends meet. She would prep everything ahead of time, give me a quick "how to" when I got home from school and off she went. I failed at the fried chicken in the cast iron skillet. It was charcoal black on the outside and I cried all through dinner as my brothers complained when my dad insisted that they eat it! We all remember that night well!

    Happy cooking to you and be sure to check out my recipes on the blog using the recipe navigation. Just click on the recipe tab at the top of the home page and it takes you to a navigation page where you can have fun looking at the recipes.

  12. That is totally cool! I love because you can read the reviews and they are so helpful. I print them out and have a binder in my kitchen I store them in for quick reference. If I ever forget or lose them, I always just do a new search.

    Good for you Sharon. You rock!!


  13. My mom was a great cook and she tried to help me learn, but I was not interested. Just like you, I've got the cooking bug too! I ordered my favorite cooking magazine and I have challenged myself to cook at least one new recipe a month. Last month it was a white chili. We loved it so much I cooked it for us at home about 4 times, then I took it to work for our potluck and had it again for my harvest party. It is yummy. I think I'm making it again tomorrow. Geez!

    Keep focused!

  14. Hi Sharon! I'm hoping that cooking interest sometime happens to me. Really far from it, currently.

    I am also getting fussier about my foods. Ex. Am I getting darker skinned beans (because the darker ones have more antioxidants)? Ex. I love chicken nugget flavor but will now only eat the soybean chik'n nuggets because I saw something about how the real ones are made. Trying to eat 8 servings of fruits/vegs on most days. All this fussiness drives my family nuts.

    :-) Marion

  15. Love your post.
    My dad taught me how to cook. He taught me how to smell the ingredients and seasonings and if they smelled good together they would probably taste good together. Also if the grow well together, they will taste well together. He also taught me not to be afraid of garlic, onions and peppers (as in chili).
    I love, love, love to cook!

  16. I taught myself, which is probably why we went out to eat for the first 10 years of our marriage and part of my weight problems! I had some friends who helped me, but it was a lot of trial and error. Love this post!

  17. Hey Sharon! I just found your blog as I was "blog hopping" reading inspirational healthish blogs. I'm also over here by GSMNP (Maryville). I need to go catch up on your journey you've blogged so far, but wanted to say hello! I love to hike in the park as well as it's a great workout, and just beautiful and peaceful.