Oh yeah, look at that exclamation point in the title.
I love cooking. I think I first got the cooking bug (unfortunate expression in relation to food) sometime around middle school for a home economics class where we were asked to make a dinner meal for the family. I chose lasagna because that was, and is (perhaps tied with manicotti!) my favorite food. I actually have the pictures from that, but I’m too lazy to go get them and scan them at the moment. Sorry!
And combine that prompt from school with being a happily admitted mama’s boy, I’ve always been a kid who stood around in the kitchen soaking up my mother’s knowledge about cooking. So, it’s not a surprise that I’m a lot like her in how I cook: sort of haphazard and winging it. Although, the two major differences: a.) I stay by the food, whereas she has a tendency to go do something else and overcook the food in question; and b.) I have an eclectic interest in food and am willing to try and experiment in a great many ways. Nonetheless, she provided that base!
To be sure, I don’t do it as often as I would like. I too often fall into the trap of going for easy-to-make items rather than taking the time to truly make a satisfying meal from scratch. But when I do get the chance, it’s so fun and satisfying. It not only scratches that creative itch — the ability to wing it and try different things, with no fear of failing, and I mean, if you do fail, so what — but also … it’s food! Who doesn’t like eating something yummy?! Heck, and afterward, it scratches yet another itch of mine: The relaxing clean-up process thereafter, although I sometimes also do the smart trick of cleaning as I go.
The reason this is top of the mind today is I just got back from the store where I bought the ingredients to make stuffing for the first time! My family always has an earlier Thanksgiving because my parents’ annual tradition is to go on vacation for actual Thanksgiving. This year, somehow for the first time, our family divided up dishes we’d bring to the Thanksgiving dinner. I’ve never made that classic Thanksgiving side dish of stuffing before and I wanted to give it a whirl, so I volunteered to do stuffing.
I’ve been looking at a lot of recipes and videos on how to make stuffing over the last few days and the ingredients seem pretty common for the most part. Some get a little fancier depending on tastes, such as adding cranberries or spicier or what have you, but the core ingredients seem to be the bread bits (French, sourdough, whatever the case), celery, eggs, chicken broth, butter, garlic, onion and various other seasonings. One thing I decided to add to the mix after seeing another recipe do it: sweetened Italian sausage.
So, we’ll see how it goes. Maybe I’ll do an updated post with how it turned out and what others thought. That’s the thing, too. I love cooking … for myself. Because again, if I fail, who cares? It’s just me. I can eat something else or eat something subpar. But if I fail and it’s for other people … yikes! That’s more anxiety on the kitchen table, if you will.
Anyhow, I’m excited about giving this a whirl tomorrow! I suppose the only thing I haven’t done homemade since I can’t do every dang thing homemade is the chicken broth. I bought the Kroger brand for that. Otherwise, it’s pretty much homemade.
I sure as heck wasn’t bringing a box of Kraft Stove Top stuffing to Thanksgiving dinner. That’s absolutely no shade to Kraft because that stuff is good and convenient for what it is, but for Thanksgiving? That’s no fun. That’s like bringing gift cards to Christmas. I want to scratch those creative itches! I want to try something new!
Do you also enjoy cooking? And what is your go-to favorite homemade meal to cook?