Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Cooking Adventures

I got some questions this weekend on how I learned to cook for a crowd.  For me, it is simple - I was raised that way.  Being raised in many different countries, I picked up different ideas and learned to play with food.  I was asked for a recipe, and I laughed!  I don't think I have used a recipe for a main dish in years.  Desserts, perhaps, but food? No.

I think the time I was most stumped about cooking was when I was a teen.  We were back in the US for a season, and I used to babysit.  I would often cook dinner for the kids I babysat.  One afternoon, the mom was having a frantic day.  She had some appointments and events, and then that evening she was supposed to bring a cake to a Bible study.  She asked if I would mind cooking a cake for her.

No problem.

She handed me a box, and then hurriedly grabbed her keys and walked out the door.
A box?!

I was absolutely bewildered.  Confused.  Totally taken off guard by a cake mix.  I had no idea what to do with it.  A foreign concept.  Turn a box into a cake?!

It took me a few minutes before I was even brave enough to read the instructions and gingerly begin.  I could have whipped two different types of cake off by memory at that point in my life, but a box confused me!

I remember that confusion now and laugh.  I have made some boxed cakes since then, but still prefer to make my own, just as I prefer to cook a meal without packaged ingredients.  It has made living in different places simpler for me - the fact that I was raised not to be used to things you buy in a package.  Home to me tastes like things I can make, not something I buy in a store.

I've love trying new dishes, new flavors from different parts of the world, and mixing them.  I love cooking now.  I am not, nor will ever be, and have no desire to attempt to be a fancy cook.  I like to cook food that fills people up, that warms bellies, that satisfies.  If you are wanting a beautifully displayed table with fancily cut vegetables, look elsewhere.  That is not me.

Got any good favorites you cook for a crowd where you are?  I'm always interested in trying new things.

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