You wouldn’t have to be a detective in the class of the famed (and fictional) Sherlock Holmes to figure out I enjoy cooking. There are literally dozens of clues strewn throughout the many posts in this blog. I believe there might even be one entirely on cooking, which constitutes a bit more than a “clue”.
When I moved into my comfortable, small home 15 years ago, I threw a series of housewarming parties to share my abode with my friends and family. Over the course of those parties, I received many fine housewarming gifts (my first gas barbecue grill for example). One of the nicest and most pleasing gifts was a shared gift given by two women I worked with, a full set of superb cookware by Belgique.
This massive collection of pots included a large saucepan and two steel “steamer” pots (the piece that rests inside the regular pots and holds your vegetables or pasta). I have enjoyed using them as much as I can. Sadly that is not as much as I’d like.
Back in B.H. (before house), I used to “entertain” more. Perhaps it was a different circle of friends; perhaps it was a different age group (even I was younger then). Whatever the reason, I had more opportunities to cook for others.
That is perhaps the most important ingredient when cooking. As a decisively single man, I have no “better half” (schizophrenia aside); no little mouths to feed. In short, without guests, I have no one else to cook for.
While I enjoy the random madness of my BBQs, they are cooking of an entirely different fashion, with the fare mostly similar from BBQ to BBQ. True discovery and experimentation comes mostly from the kitchen, be it stove or oven.
A few years ago, one of my friends (part of the pair who gave me the cooking set), gave me a cooking lesson for my birthday. We attended a “workshop” given by a chef who prepared an appetizer and four main courses, instructing the group (about 20 people, give or take) on everything from picking the vegetables and meats (including fish), to seasoning, timing, cooking and secret tips. It was terrific fun and I left with three recipes I was eager to try out (one of the main courses didn’t send me).
The problem, as before, was cooking for one means mass quantities of leftovers. There are some foods that take well to freezing (meatloaf, is an example, though I think meatloaf is univerally flexible). Most foods don’t fare so well after being stuck in the freezer.
I had a short period where my singlehood was wavering, dating a Mom with two kids. We planned to do some cooking together, including one or two of the recipes I had yet to make. Suffice to say there were no leftovers of the never-cooked meals nor the relationship.
Since that time, with my singleness properly back in place, my cooking has been more inclined toward the grill, which is more forgiving of smaller portions.
I miss having the opportunity to “test” my recipes on others, which afforded me more opportunity to eat them myself. The effort of cooking many of those recipe seems somewhat less rewarding when I’m wrapping and storing 75% or more of the creation.
I guess this is the odd situation where I would actually prefer more mouths to feed.