Yesssss. Being a writer means that you’re in the creative field. And when you’re creative, chances are there’s more talent in that field than just in writing.
For me, I can sing a little, nothing major, just enough to be pleasant, I can draw, I like to sew, and I used to paint back in high school. What else can I do in the creative arts? Cook! (By the way, I’m working on my baking skills😬😬😬, but that’s slow progress that I’m okay with sharpening down the line.)
Apricot cream cheese bars. Success! Great with coffee, too!
The first time I tried to really cook something other than a hotdog in the oven, was when I was nineteen and in college. Saw my mom cooking as I grew up and she had skills. She cooked so much, and so did my oldest brother, that my second older brother and I really didn’t have to learn. Well, my mom told us that we were grown and to fish for ourselves. Womp, womp. The good life was over. Plus, my Latino man who comes from a family that cooks, especially his mom, was like, “Hold up. You can’t cook?”
I felt bad. I was a 19-year-old woman who didn’t know her way around the kitchen. It was so bad, that I thought to myself, ‘Okay! Let’s make rice!’ Y’all, I turned on the pan and immediately poured raw rice into it. No oil either. Yup! Have you ever seen hopping rice? It jumped and I reached for the dial with the quickness to turn it off. Didn’t even occur to me to read the instructions. I gave up! So then I proceeded to learn how to make a steak and cheese sandwich, and after making them with pride, during my boyfriend’s visit, this had been the second time I’d served him this sandwich. When I asked him with a glow on my face how he liked it, he smiled wearily and asked, “Baby, is this all you can cook?” Womp, womp. Dang it! I was proud of myself, too.
So one day, I asked my mom to help me learn how to cook on a random summer day. I was determined to impress my man with my cooking skills. I mean, somebody had to receive my goodness! I asked her to teach me how to make fried chicken, mashed potatoes and something else that I can’t recall. Y’all I was so proud, so afterwards, I packed up my meal and headed to the park. Sitting at the bench with him, I asked, “So! How do you like it?” With a reluctant smile, he answered, “I mean, it’s good, but, umm, did you make this mashed potatoes from a box?” Womp, womp.
Fast forward like 19 years later—whoa! Time be flying!
Now, not only do I have a genuine love for cooking, but I’m actually pretty good at it. The thing is, I like to cook my favorite restaurant meals that are hard to make. I’ll figure out the ingredients, go to the store, and prepare to cook them. Let me say, YouTube has been a lifesaver. Yeah, you can get the ingredients but some methods in between are tricky and people who specialize in that area can help you on YouTube. I mean, most times you gotta have something to work with, like instinct. Since I’m not a fresh fish to the kitchen, I can pull things off.
Like thanksgiving. It was around 2008 when I had to make thanksgiving by myself for my man and me. I wasn’t too much of a cook back then like I am now, but with the help of, you guessed it, YouTube, the turkey came out pretty good! I managed the sides and desserts on my own, and with the help of online recipes. Ever since then, I’ve been cooking Thanksgiving on my own, and I really don’t want to have it any other way.
Over the years, I kept hearing my man go on about a delicious turkey he once had at his aunt’s house for Thanksgiving. The guy who cooked it was a chef and my man praised how good it was, calling it the best turkey he’d ever had. Well. I was curious as to what he could’ve done to achieve that, and event though he was a chef, I didn’t care, I was determined to steal his thunder!
And this past Thanksgiving, I did! My man makes this sound when he eats something delicious. “Mmmm mm mm mm—m!” This happens more these days, but when he said it after tasting my turkey, guess what he said? Okay, yeah, I’ll tell you. “Baby, mm. This the best tasting turkey ever.” With raised brows of excitement, I ask, “Better than that chef’s?” With a full cheek, he replies while nodding, “Yea, baby. I think so. Mmmmm, yeah, this is better than his.” And I’d done it! I’ll tell you what, he never lies when I ask for criticism about anything, which is why I value his opinion of my dishes. Plus, he’s a Leo, and you know how those Leos love good things. He’s got lofty taste in food, so he would never fake a nasty dish. Needless to say, when he praised my turkey, you guys know I felt all kinds of mushy inside. Years of slaving in the kitchen trying this, trying that, it had finally shown in my work throughout this year. See, look. ⬇️
Ugh. It appears stretched out here, but trust me, this would look so yummy if I were to send it to your phone or invite you over. I had lemon peels and all kinds of seasoning under and over the skin. Sage, rosemary, butter, salt and pepper, paprika... let’s not forget about the stuffing in the butt of the turkey. 🤤 it was good! And a lot of people don’t add a soup around it. 🤭 It’s so much more tastier when you don’t pull out a dry bird.
Moving along to my favorite side dish is rice. Now, I know rice sounds so simple, but getting it just right and flaky versus sticky is everything! I also infuse my jasmine rice with garlic and salt is just...like sex for the tongue. I also realize how yummy turmeric is. I cannot live without garlic and turmeric fiends. Can’t do it! I like to joke about being a master chef. Yeah, right. But hey, let me have some fun and dream! I’ll discuss my love for cooking some more down the line, soon.