Being from an Italian family, my mom and grandmothers have practically spent their lives cooking. Homecooked food was a part of my upbringing. So you'd think I would know my way around a kitchen. My sisters certainly do. But I think the cooking gene missed me.
Only since my late twenties, when I started to clean up my eating with wholesome, healthful food, did I start to take an interest in cooking and baking. But I kept it simple using props like a rice cooker, steam basket and George Foreman Grill. I actually find cooking meditative. If only I could find more time.
Recently, my cooking practice has taken a bit of a hiatus but I have goals to get back on track and finally navigate this equally loved and hated room in my home. (Things have been known to get a little clumsy - think, big spills).
Luckily, IIN has supplied me with an arsenal of recipes. Technically speaking, I could try something new every day of the year and still not have scratched the surface. Also to my satisfaction, IIN's approach is much like mine -- simple techniques for simple food. This makes the task of cooking much easier to digest.
What I love most about cooking at home is that I know exactly what is in my food and can guarantee the quality (even if not the taste right now). Homecooked food is much easier to digest and I feel happier and more peaceful eating it because I know it was made with love and intention. And during the times when I have consistently cooked at home, the cost savings have shown.
Sure I've had some trials and tribulations along the way. Like the time I called my mom in tears, hands emblazoned in red and burning with pain, after chopping several varieties of peppers for fresh salsa. Lesson learned: wear gloves. And I've had to get creative with some of the cramped wallspace landlords have tried to pass off as kitchens i.e. mixing brownie batter in bed.
But I've also had some grand successes. My delicious and nutritious 'vegan' banana bread comes to mind! Of course this required a couple of failed attempts before perfecting the recipe. But what I've learned along the way is that the kitchen can be a playground and it's the trial and error aspect of cooking and baking that make it such a creative outlet and welcomed escape for me.