My grandma sucked at cooking. It was no fault of her own. She grew up in a poor farmer’s family and got married at the age of 18. Her world experience at that time was pretty limited and she just wanted to find something my grandfather would find tolerable to eat that wasn’t a frozen TV dinner. Then came along back of the box recipes and dollar store cookbooks. Don’t know what to do with cream of mushroom soup, toss that shit in a pot with green beans and take your family on a European tour with a 15 minute easy to make spin on a classical French dish. My grandma loved these things. At the time, if someone offered her a free recipe regardless of their intent on selling her Campbell’s related products she took it. She just wanted something new, something to make her family happy, something that provided a foundation for exploring her creativity. Sure it was mostly dog shit marketing ploys wrapped around even dog shittier food, but the middle of nowhere Nebraska didn’t have much in the way of trendy restaurants to draw inspiration from and celebrity chefs were still decades away. My dad tells me horror stories involving spam-tuna-cheese casseroles and canned chow Mein as if he was the child that had to hide in the community shitter in Schindler’s List.
No longer is the day of playing Russian roulette with garage sale cook books, and grocery store promotions. Those were wiped out with several powerful bitch slaps from our lord and savior Anthony Bourdain, our God Emperor Gordon Ramsay, and the succulent minx that whispers sweet nothings in our wettest dreams Paula Dean. Nowadays I get to cheat. There’s any number of shows explaining how to cook. If I want a carbonara recipe from the world’s greatest Italian chef I’m just a short google search away. If I need inspiration for a new dish a trendy joint packed to the brim with upper middle class white people ironically dressed like 1950’s caricatures is only a short drive away. Today the only obstacle on the way to a great meal is the convenience of fast food and sea of mediocrity printed on the back of prepackaged boxes filled with corporate anal mucus.
I hate cooking. It takes all fucking day to prepare a decent meal, it’s messy and usually requires something in your kitchen you don’t have. But I still manage to obsess over food and its preparation. I hate cooking, but I love everything around it. Eating, experimenting, and sharing something I’ve created makes it worthwhile.