Tuesday, January 26, 2010

An Apology, a Thanks and an Encouragement

When I got married almost eleven years ago, I did not know how to cook. I could make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich, a box of macaroni and cheese, and even hamburger helper. But, I did not know how to cook. I had no idea how to hold a chef's knife. I had not made anything from a recipe that wasn't on the back of a box. And I certainly didn't know how to make adjustments to recipes.

But I jumped in the kitchen anyway. My husband and I knew we wanted to eat healthily. We just had to learn, first, what healthy was and, second, how to make it.

I made a lot of mistakes those first several years. So, I have to apologize to all of you dear friends who ate at our home in our first years of marriage. There is no telling what you thought of my cooking skills! I appreciate your kindness in staying, even if you wanted to run!

You know, all this time my dear husband has never complained -- ever. Even in those rough first learning years, he ate everything I put on the table. Well, almost everything. There was that eggplant dish that was so bitter we had to throw it out. That might be the only thing we threw out though. He was that brave! So, thank you dear, for persevering while I learned. Oh, and there was that very smelly attempt at sprouted wheat bread. But that was a joint effort! We sprouted the wheat berries, pulverized them, dehydrated the paste... yet we couldn't even get the birds to eat it!

(For the record, I still make mistakes every now and then. And he still eats them -- with a smile, so that the children never even consider that they might have a choice to decline what's on their plates.)

Preparing healthy foods takes practice. Yep, I am proof of that. As I have continued to learn and continued to try new things in the kitchen, my skills have improved. I can prepare things quicker, which is a huge plus. I can make substitutions when necessary. I can take risks and enjoy the adventure of cooking healthy foods. And, most of the time, the risks end up worth it... that's how wonderful new recipes form!

So I want to encourage you, if you are just starting out, that you will learn quicker than you think -- especially if you just jump in and try. And keep trying! Even if you make mistakes. Learn from your mistakes. (Like I know now how to salt eggplant and let it drain to keep it form being bitter.) And keep trying. Be confident that every kitchen experience adds to your expertise, whether you think it is a beneficial or a flop of an experience.

So what new thing do you want to learn to do in the kitchen? Is there something you've hesitated to try? This is the week! Jump in and be adventuresome... and take your kids along for the ride too!

Let me know what new thing you're going to attempt... maybe it's something I need to try too!

PS During this fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants-recovery-and-adjustment time, I would be glad to take a stab at some of your questions. Is there anything you would like to hear my perspective on? I find that I have a lot of thinking time while I nurse at night. Now, if only I could hook little suction cups to my temples and channel those thoughts onto the blogger notepad!

You can add your questions in the comments of this post, or you can email them to ae @ healthbeginswithmom . com (without the spaces).


Mel said...

add one more thing to your list...you knew how to make pancakes, because you taught ME! :) of course, that recipe WAS on the back of the bisquik box!

kristilea said...

It's nice to hear that you started from ground zero! It gives me hope since I had to do the same thing. I thought I was doing pretty good at making healthier meals untill I watched Food, Inc.. Then I realized I had soooo much further to go! It was discouraging at first, but I'm determined to feed my family healthy food!

My question would be, how do you feed your family the best foods on a VERY tight budget? I use coupons, I make menu's around the sale item, but I can't afford free range meat, so what do I need to make a priority? What are the foods that I need to stay away from the most?

Noel said...

I still make a ton of mistakes cooking and we eat them all :) I have such a patient family. Love the picture of the "suction cups" to the brain. I think my kids have already tried that on me!