Family dinner is a requirement. There were maybe three times growing up I was allowed to not be present for dinner: studying for the SATs, being in some form of trouble, and cheer practice (bring on the jokes).
Today, I am not the cook in our house. I have a few specialties, but P really loves it and often takes the reins. Over the past couple weeks, however, dinner has often fallen to me.
Just cooking for two makes me realize the commitment necessary for this daily task. Not only must you chop, dice, broil and steam without injuring yourself, but the dish must be at the least palatable and at the best crave-able. I usually have little trouble completing the recipe (okay, yes, that one time I confused spicy red curry powder for paprika…), but being inventive while enjoying the process is still a challenge.
I often find myself thinking of my mom’s battered red and white striped Betty Crocker cookbook; a cornerstone of our family kitchen. I’m lucky that my maternal grandmother wrote down her most favorite recipes for me before she passed.
Other than that, to fulfill our ethnic food cravings developed by long years of city life, I scour the internet and other sources for the best ways to make a tofu curry, tandoori chicken, soba noodles, and (the as yet not accomplished holy grail) pho. All from ingredients from the local grocery store (which has a very few “international” items).
Cooking may not be a formal “craft” but it’s pretty amazing the creativity and time we (usually) spend to fuel ourselves.