Learning to cook

As with most people, when I get busy, blogging suffers. Instead, I’m unwinding by learning to cook. It’s been a long journey, levelling up on the slopes of Mt. Noob and now reaching the stages where I’m at least mildly competent.

Lessons learnt thus far: the sheer ubiquity of onions and garlic. What happens if you don’t watch your fingers when chopping said onions. The numerous types of vinegar (white wine, balsamic, malt, cider – I don’t even like vinegar). Why people spend £100 on a knife. The delights of thyme, parsley, cumin, turmeric, garam masala, bay leaves, parsley, oregano, rosemary, and many others. How to buy meat that isn’t pre-packed. How bloody expensive prawns, grapes, saffron and vanilla are.

As well as, obviously, the eating, I think I’m drawn to the alchemy of cooking. Getting the raw materials and following a recipe, however mechanically (I’m certainly not at the stage to remember them, let alone improve upon them) is a quite fascinating thing – seeing a concoction of unrelated, immiscible fluids emerge two hours later as a rather delicious casserole is remarkable.

My other surprise was just how much planning it takes. Getting all the right ingredients at the right time, particularly the perishable ones, takes dedication and an anticipation of where food will fit in with your week’s routine. It requires an application of Just-In-Time inventory that would rival a small factory. But yet, somehow, this hassle makes the whole process more rewarding.

What this all comes down to, of course, is an admission that I’m pushing 30. Now that’s out of the way, does anyone have any recipes to share?