I love to cook.
Except you wouldn’t really know that if you saw what I ate most nights. You see, in order for me to enjoy the process, certain conditions need to be met:
- I have to have all of the ingredients mentioned in the recipe.
One may think that this is incredibly boring or uncreative, but I like to think of it as giving the recipe it’s best chance of coming out the way the original cook intended. Of course, I can be more creative or flexible when it comes to ingredients I don’t like or eat, though I tend to only get creative after trying the original recipe out first.
2. My kitchen has to be spic and span.
With a very small kitchen. I absolutely detest having anything unnecessary on the counters and cooking when the counters are dirty is something I only do when I am absolutely exhausted and therefore really don’t care about what I am eating or when I am cooking for one. One of the reasons I don’t cook very often is because, I have to clean before I do so.
3. I need to have peace; noise only of my own choosing.
That means no chatty friends or family members trying to catch up on what has been going on since the last time we saw each other.
When I cook, especially for others, I need to concentrate. Those times that I don’t can be disasterous. A few kernels of orzo that burns to the pan for all eternity, while leaving the rest unscathed as it did this weekend, when I took that particular moment to read through the list of what was playing at the cinema. Bad timing!
Most important I do not like anybody ‘helping’ me to cook, unless of course this is my husband, who knows where most things are and therefore, doesn’t need to constantly ask me for things.
My kitchen is my domain.
It is not a social kitchen, that opens on to another room. It does not have a handy little breakfast bar where people can talk to you, without physically being in your way. No, I have what you could call a little cave of a kitchen, so I do not need anyone else taking up any valuable space.
Finally, the final condition for me to enjoy cooking is the following:
4. I cannot be hungry.
Should I be expected to create a meal successfully, then I can’t actually be hungry, because I simply can’t put two thoughts together correctly in that state.
My point is: I love cooking BUT…
Last year whenever I did any cooking blog posts, I would spend ages, staging photos, making sure everything was nice and shiny. The problem was that I actually needed to get something on the table by a specific time. So a recipe that normally only required an hour to make, for example, ended up lasting double that. Taking so much time on the process and fearing that my posts weren’t even getting read, I decided to leave them out, thinking that most people who are reading my blog want to actually hear about my creative endeavors, i.e. my quilting.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I was on Instagram, when I came across a photo of my favorite dish in my feed. I was surprised to find it, as it is something very rare to see people cooking it at home here let alone abroad. I opened the comment to see what it was and I was amazed to confirm that it was in fact that recipe and that the cook had used, no other than my recipe.
Wow! “Someone actually reads and uses my blog post?!” I thought to myself, completely and utterly bewildered. And so after finally getting back into the cooking grove over the winter, I am finally getting back to blogging about food. After all it is something we all do or need. Good home cooking!
So today, before the weather turned for the worst, I decided to walk to the village shop to pick up some groceries. I couldn’t believe they are already starting to sell spring flowers and February is not even over. But then, the weather has been very strange this year.
After a very windy walk back, I was good and ready for a bit of playing in the kitchen and decided to start cooking my potato soup, which I had already tried a week or so ago. It was only 10:00 a.m. but I knew I could prepare it ahead of time and let it sit. I have now adjusted to the Swiss tradition of having your main, hot meal at lunch.
The recipe I used was from my favorite Swiss cook book. You can see there are two names for the recipe. One is the Swiss German name and one is written/ German.
I had already made some adjustments the first time I made this recipe, which I had noted directly in the book, not having all the ingredients on hand . But this time, I was willing to be a bit more creative. While I waited for the soup to finish cooking, I quickly went into my studio office to find a note book. I needed to write down the changes I had made this time, so that I knew what I did and so that I didn’t confuse it with my previous notes .
I have gotten into the habit of writing the date I try a recipe and any alterations I make directly in the book and add dates and alterations as I go along, but this cook book does not leave enough space for that.
I eventually decided on one of the school exercise books that I picked up at the village shop last week. It is not pretty, at least as it is, but it is convenient to find and cheap, so I thought it would make a good choice if I plan to keep this up.
I labeled today’s entry with the cookbook I found the recipe in, the author and page number and the ingredients I chose and any changes I made.
Later I will try to translate this into English and provide it for any interested readers so they can cook it themselves. Maybe you can see how confusing it can be living in another language. One minute you are thinking in one language and the next, another one is coming out of your mouth or flowing onto the paper, in this case.
After having successfully completed my soup, I prepared the table, getting it ready for my husband to get home for lunch.
Usually I just put the pot on the table, but as my husband only eats a few times at home Monday through Wednesday, I decided to dress it up a bit and pull out the good china.
It was also better because I actually have a tureen and deep soup plates in this set.
Well this post was a little long… covering some three different topics. Two I have been meaning to get off my chest for a while.
What about you? Do you love or loathe cooking? If you love it… do you have any ‘conditions’ you need to enjoy the process?
Well until next time!
Lovely post, Jodie. Yep, I need to be “in the mood” to cook something a bit special (ie other than meat and veg/salad). And when I do I enjoy it, but the every day cooking becomes quite a chore. Love the tureen and soup bowls. Yes please, would love the recipe.
Thank you Meredithe , well at least meat and veg salad sounds healthy. The dinnerware were kind of a neat aquisition. Something I plan to research soon. They are from the Alsace region of France.
I absolutely LOVE cooking! Especially for others. The kitchen is one of my favorite places to be. I’m very lenient when it comes to following recipes and easily adapt as I go. I often just make dishes up as well, no recipe needed. My sister on the other hand, cooks only out of necessity and must follow a recipe to a tee. It drives me crazy how she can’t think outside the box 🙂 I also make notes and write down the dates because I never remember for the next time. I keep my pile of scribbled papers in an old cookie tin.
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Well I am trying to learn to be more adventurous like you. Wow, I would love to see your collection in your cookie tin.
Hi Jodie! What a beautiful table for lunch! So much care and thought put into it. I’m sure it was a great success 🙂 P.s. I can’t cook when I’m hungry either and I need to concentrate too 🙂 Happy cooking. Sharon
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Thank you, it can be a bit meditative putting together a lovely table!
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This is brilliant! Haha I totally understand your conditions. Mine are different, but I get it and I have conditions on other areas of my life too. Like when I’m writing or working. Or painting. Or cleaning my conditions for cleaning seems to be that I can only do it when I know someone else will appreciate it, because frankly I could leave it. I’m working on that though, lol I’m saving up for maid service 😉 xoxoxo
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I remember those couple of years when I was working 1oo % and Yves let me, reluctantly, get a maid. It was great but also very stressful. Every Friday I would have to run around the house so she could actually get to our house to clean! Hugs and big kisses, miss you!