Since I was a freshman in high school, my mom has rarely cooked dinner. Even if she cooked more often, I’ve been away from home for so long that I almost never have home-cooked meals.
When I’m away by myself, I never cook. The most I make is plain spaghetti, cut up apples, sandwiches, or maybe bagels with melted cheese and carrots. The food is so bland that I usually drink a very sweet lemonade to offset it.
I was always a “picky” eater. Even at my grandma’s house for Thanksgiving or Christmas, where everyone agrees that the cooking is great, I usually ended up eating only the meat and bread. I’ve since expanded, now I can eat the dumplings and mashed potatoes, but the classics like corn, pies, green bean casserole, or fruit salad I will never eat. Most friends would say I’m pretty picky all around.
That is, of course, until I went to Asia. It seems I love lots of different kinds of Asian foods, especially Japanese food. When I came back to America I thought I was cured of my pickiness, but now I’ve come to realize that in general I much prefer Asian foods over European foods.
It seems like every summer, when usually I’m alone, I consider learning to cook things. Most times these attempts have been aborted. I try to make something from a recipe, but because of my inexperience I can’t follow the incomplete instructions. A couple of years ago I learned to make onigiri, but that isn’t really cooking and it isn’t something I did regularly. At last, this summer I helped my roommate cook a basic salmon dish, but I still hadn’t cooked something by myself. What finally pushed me to do it was the discovery of the game “Cooking Guide.” The reason the game is so exciting to me is that it has videos and clear instructions for each step of the preparation. This is what finally made it easy enough for me to try cooking.
I think cooking is important for a lot of reasons. There is a time for a quick sandwich, but sometimes it is really worth it to spend an hour preparing food. Another reason is I can imagine living with someone in the future. I believe sharing and switching off cooking duties is important for a healthy relationship.
I’m starting to develop a nascent “cooking philosophy.” I like cooking simple things. At this point it has more to do with my skills than my preferences, but I prefer “simple” things to eat, also. What I mean is that I like a strong emphasis on slightly changed individual ingredients (like salmon fillets) rather than large mixed dishes (like lasagna). This emphasis on ingredients also demands a huge value placed on fresh ingredients. I’m also interested in Asian dishes, but not just Asian. I like Asian-Western fusion sorts of dishes.
I’m not sure how far I will take this, but in the next few years I will try to learn to cook some more dishes. I’m excited about Hong Kong, because I think I will have much more access to fresh ingredients. I don’t know that I’ll have much time to cook, but I will have to make an effort to try cooking a few times. I will keep this blog updated with new dishes I learn to prepare.