Friday, November 25, 2011

F-F-F-Friday - Helping My Girl Cook

I've got The Boy back to write my F-F-F-Friday post for me because he did such a fabulous job the last time. Plus, I just love hearing from him. So .... here's The Boy ....

After a year of being the beneficiary of my wonderful wife’s delicious cooking, I decided to take some cooking lessons myself.

I did this for three primary reasons:
  • I realised what a large chore it was for her to do on her own, and I felt I could help her out when needing to take some of the pressure off,
  • I remembered how cooking (I used to do a lot of Chinese cooking 25 years ago, but was self-taught) concentrated my attention on cooking and pushed work to the background and felt I would benefit from that again,
  • And I felt that better understanding and participating in the cooking process would provide healthier and better tasting foods and also help me to better select matching wines for the meal

Most importantly, since my dad’s massive stroke (and remarkable recovery, thank God), I have taken to making my occupation the one of living and not working (of course, one still needs to work to make a living, but it is a matter of setting the right priorities). There is nothing more basic than preparing and eating meals and relating to others, so the focus on cooking has helped me to achieve that goal. It does take some time to learn and practice and also the time to prepare the meals, but it has been a fulfilling experience and as with most things, it is not a matter of time, but rather one of priority. Once I placed cooking, health and socialising with great friends higher on the list, I made the time and you can too.

Christmas cooking class, which involves drinking
with friends too

I have had six lessons so far, including three lessons from Cooking for Blokes, a great program in North Sydney, a special Christmas cooking lesson and special knife skills lesson from Cooking for Blokes, and recently a How to Cook Pasta lesson from Sandalyns in the Hunter Valley. I have loved the experience as it has provided me with a deeper understanding and more confidence to take on more myself.

My Girl still plans the meals when we have guests over and controls the kitchen, but I participate more. Additionally, I have been doing a few meals on my own for us, including making a cauliflower soup and a chicken risotto and tonight will be preparing a mushroom and sausage risotto. Additionally, in two weeks’ time, we will congregate with close friends at our place in the Hunter Valley to have a cooking, eating and drinking weekend among great friends – kind of like The Big Chill, but without the funeral and neuroticism! Each couple will lead the preparation of a meal, we will all cook, sit around and eat, drink and socialise and have a great time of it.

Resources available to help you get started are this blog, which provides a number of recipes and instructional material and here is the link for Cooking for Blokes which is a great way to learn and improve. It is for blokes, but also for women (this is where DAZ first trained!) and they have a six lesson Level 1 course followed by numerous Level 2 courses, provided by one of the Masterchef finalists.
I have learned to cook and have more confidence and fun doing so and so can you. It is not as intimidating as it might appear!

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