It's kind of funny how much Mark and I have enjoyed cooking shows. On both sides of the world, we've found shows about culinary greats and wannabes that have highly entertained us. In Czech there was the celebrity cooking show as well as a couple shows with chef Zdeněk Pohlreich who helps restaurants improve the quality of their kitchens or challenges chefs to be the best they can be. Over here we actually have the Food Network. Can I just say there are a ridiculous number of highly entertaining cooking reality shows. From "Cupcake Wars" to "Chopped" they've got all kinds of kitchen drama.
I even occasionally look at my friend's food websites. Whether it is Crystal with her beautiful food photos and recipes, or Robin constantly wowing me with how many projects she manages to do while still producing a blog explaining how to get it all done, I'm more than impressed by what so many women manage to do.
While it may be true that in Hong Kong I often had to cook for as many as 15 people, what I produced was far from something spectacular. Basically, it was something to get them through evening shift without starving. Not that it was inedible, but it certainly wasn't anything exciting either. Basics. Pure and simple. Things quickly chopped up and served cold or thrown together at minimal risk and tossed in the oven for a while. Those are the sort of things that work for me. I was always thankful when there were enough people around that I only had to cook twice a month. Those days when I had to write up the schedule and sometimes put my name down more than twice in one week made me want to cringe.
Needless to say, cooking isn't my passion. I recently was reminded in a wedding card that I once said "For me, food is fuel." And that's the truth. It's something that my body has to have in order to keep going. Not that there aren't plenty of tasty dishes out there. Those Food Network shows even manage to make me salivate every now and again. But the thought of going out of my way every day to put something fantastic on the table is a huge stretch for my imagination. One one side food is fuel, and on the other side cooking is stress.
But these days I find myself a wife. That has to mean something, right? For a while in Czech I got all excited about wanting to cook for Mark, but life there was complicated and it just didn't end up happening very much, so that flame sorta died. My kitchen wows in Cheb focused on the likes of fruit salad and hot open faced sandwiches. So it's a bit of a struggle for me to suddenly need to feed more than just myself.
Now we come to the main point of this post. Beyond the fact that cooking doesn't give me any sort of thrill, I'm excessively paranoid about touching raw meat. It's just gross. Slimy, unsanitary, ugh. But yesterday...yesterday I cut chunks of fat off raw meat. I held it in my hands, I got goo everywhere. Then I put it in a crock pot under the direction of my sister Julie, and I produced an honest to goodness dinner. It's not likely that anyone will give me the honorary title of chef any time in the near future, and I'd likely even fail at "Worst Cooks in America" but it's a step in the right direction...right? And if nothing else, I've gotten really good at making the Czech version of Turkish coffee. If only Starbucks would get back to me on that job ap...