Chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese


There was a time, not too long ago, that all I ate was chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. I’m exaggerating a bit of course, but not by much.

I wasn’t always someone who thought constantly about food, scoured the internet for food blogs, or watched the food network every chance I got. I got here slowly through many trials and mistakes. I have misread teaspoon of salt for tablespoon. This makes a huge difference in cookies. I thought an olive was a vegetable so olive oil must be the same thing as vegetable oil. this made very gross brownies. I have even served raw turkey legs because I didn’t check the internal temperature I just went by time per pound. To my very kind guests that night, again, thank you for not being totally grossed out.

The point I want to make it that this has been a journey for me and T. College was about ease and cost. Chicken nuggets or student unions met both of those criteria. Then we moved to Seattle. In Seattle we had every kind of restaurant at our disposal and with in walking distance of our apartment. We tried an Indian buffet or a taco cart for lunch (still the best tacos I’ve ever had). We could eat at a fancy tapas lounge or little Thai joint for dinner. There were all vegan coffee shops with amazing tea. A burger stand that always had a long line after 1am. We never cooked. We didn’t have to.
Then T got a job offer in little Beaumont Texas. Where? Huh? We are going to move from one of the coolest places I’ve ever been to to some small unheard of town in Texas? Yes. We drove the very long way to our new home. Our home that had no Thai food, no amazing tacos, no Indian food. I was sad. I was craving curry. I was missing Seattle.

Then T and I went to the book store and decided to get a recipe book. Not just any book. THE book. The cooking bible if you will. The Joy of Cooking by Irma Rombauer. Now we didn’t decide on this hulking book by chance. Some friends of ours from college who had also moved to Seattle had made us a delicious meal while we were all there and couldn’t stop raving about how easy and delicious the food was from this book. We were sold.

This book makes cooking for the inexperienced much easier. It tells the whys and the hows, not just the whats. We would flip through and find curry, burgers, and muskrat. Yes, even muskrat. Don’t fear we have yet to eat rodent. (Although I’d give it a try if someone else prepared it) This book has been used and loved so much that it is now splattered in food, drenched in wine, and marked all over. For us, this book was that stepping stone from chicken nuggets and take out to delicious home cooked meals.

I will always credit Beaumont for driving me to cook. I couldn’t find the foods I had grown to love so I had to make them myself. I found out that I liked being in our itty bitty kitchen. I liked learning new things about food.

Tiny kitchen big meat.

Now, food is so much a part of my life. I love to grocery shop. I look for produce that’s in season to make up new ideas or try to come up with twists on old ones. I’ve spent a summer baking and now can throw together a loaf of bread with no problem. (Although the primal/paleo life doesn’t allow much for that anymore.) T and I both love cooking. It has become the thing we do together. He is more of the smoking meat, salad dressing, gravy man. While I love the veggies, baking, and all day long meals. We even bought our house on the size of the kitchen. (It’s enormous and green.)

I love cooking in here.

The reason I’m sharing all this with you lovely people is that I didn’t just grow up knowing how to cook. I stumbled here through a lot of trial and error. I have a dear friend, Lucy, that was sharing some frustrations over cooking lately. She wanted to know how we became so good at this thing called cooking. Lucy, I have lit my oven on fire, served raw turkey, burned plenty of cookies and myself, and cut myself more times that I can count.

I’m in no way an expert on food. But, I like to think I’ve learned a lot of lessons and come a long way. If I can inspire even one person I think I will have done something good.

The Joy and beyond.

Here is to moving beyond chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.

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About thatgirldownsouth

Anything is possible in the big green kitchen. View all posts by thatgirldownsouth

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