November 9, 2009

No Offense to Rutabegas. Or Coconuts.

I didn't do a lot of cooking until I joined Weight Watchers. I baked a lot (see: being fat) but didn't cook much. Now that I think about it I have no idea what I ate when I was living on my own until WW. I didn't have much of an example set for me. My mother is hardly what you would call a food person and my dad was into quick and cheap. Chili with noodles? Oh yeah. Chicken and rice? The bomb. Mom made the same five recipes that were rotated through the week and we always ordered pizza on Fridays. She says her limitations were set on what we would eat but she didn't really try anything new. (In all fairness to her, as a group we were painfully picky.) I've since branched out significantly, and am really enjoying the journey.

When I started WW I began looking through the myriad of recipes trying to find things that looked pretty simple for the novice chef. I ended up having a great time. I was trying new recipes weekly and since I was cooking only for myself I had plenty to eat. (Which was good considering all the kitchen staples I had to buy. I had no herbs and no other stock culinary necessities. Weekly grocery bills were huge.) Over time, I became more comfortable with what worked and what didn't and I started making very simple things off book, like quesadillas. And since I had tons of post-college time to kill I would spend hours making dinner. Through trial and error I figured out the fastest way to chop an onion, how to coordinate so things would come out at the same time, and that lemon zest is not something you can find in the store's herb section- no matter how hard you look.

I'm no Julia Child but Mike is willing to try anything I cook as long as it lacks the following- mustard, tuna (sad face), raspberries, baked fruit and balsamic vinaigrette. Other than those main things he'll eat anything. And I am eternally grateful. When I had to cook after my mom left, I wanted to throw plates at my siblings' heads. They really wouldn't eat the simplest things like green bean casserole. One Thanksgiving I tried a cornbread recipe and my brother actually spit it out. He's since repented and will eat what I make him when he visits but man, I do not envy what Mom went through. So I have Mikey (who really does like it) and thanks to his willingness the kitchen is a source of solace for me. I don't cook something from scratch every day but it feels really nice gaining confidence in the kitchen thanks to some great support.

Lately, I've been on an inadvertent soup mission. I found two soup recipes that I'm all excited about. I already tried one yesterday- a Weight Watchers' "Baked Potato Soup." I added leeks to the recipe because I LOVE leek and potato soup. I almost took the leek and made it into its own soup because I didn't know how it would go with other ingredients but I threw caution to the wind and went ahead and did it anyway. And it worked! The other soup is from my Natural Solutions magazine and it's a vegetable stew with rutabagas. I LOVE rutabagas so I'm very confident I will LOVE this soup. My only concern is that it requires 1/2 cup celery root. And I'll tell you something, you can't find that in the herbal aisle either. That shit is nasty. It looks like the aborted baby of a rutabaga and a coconut. But hey, adventure! Right?


Teresa said...

If you continue on your soup mission I have some great recipes

jana said...

celery root is a lot like a potato, but a bit more firm in soup. I love it.

belleshpgrl said...

Really glad to hear that celeriac is yummy! I'll have to use the whole thing then. I have no idea what else I would put it in.