Saturday, October 5, 2019

I Am My Own Chef

I have important advice. Some of you already know it; some don't. It deserves sayin'.

I've cooked since the time I realized that, without my mother around, food wasn't magically appearing on my plate. But cooking has always been basic for me, designed for mere subsistence.

In the past few years, however, I've gotten deeper into it as a creative pursuit. Trying new ingredients, inventing new dishes. I find the activity satisfying, not least of which 'cause you get to eat nice stuff at the end.

The normal tendency when you're cooking for only yourself or a partner is to do the least amount of work and skip effort at presentation. But I've learned that putting in a little more effort and, especially, presenting your food attractively can transform meals from ordinary to special. And that generates real pleasure.

I imagine I'm making food for other people when I'm cooking for only myself. I create dishes from scratch and adorn them nicely. Then, as I sit down to the meal, I think "Wow! What a beautiful plate of food!" I find it hard to believe that I made it. I consume the food feeling like a patron of a high-class restaurant.

In addition to heightening enjoyment, studies show that meals cooked at home are dramatically healthier than food consumed out. And that's not even considering the disaster of fast-food.

Two things that can stimulate us to want to cook at home more are good ingredients and spices. I go to local farms and green-grocers for superior vegetables. Trying new seasonings will enliven routine dishes. Sure it's a little extra effort but you're rewarded with nicer meals, better health and smiles of culinary satisfaction.

Yesterday I visited a local farm and saw something I'd never encountered before -- "Mediterranean zucchini." It's bigger than normal green zucchini and purple; it looks like an eggplant. I fried it with bread-crumbs, plated it on top of a thin egg-frittata and accompanied it with a side of wild rice full of garlic and spices. Yumm!

How much effort do you put into your cooking?


  1. Ummm, Jiffy Pop! ;-)

    I don't always go fancy with the meals I cook, but there is one thing that is important to learn in preparing any meal: Timing. It takes some practice, and a lot of trial and error - at least it has for me. Knowing how long it takes for each ingredient to be prepared and cooked allows one to organize the whole process, so that it all comes together properly.

    Come to think about it, that's not so different from my transgender life - although I think I was ready to come out of the oven a number of years before I actually did. Still, I think I came out bubbly and with just the right amount of spice! :-)

  2. Well you know me and my food ; )

    I agree that cooking and baking can be very meditative once you get into the groove. The possibilities truly are endless.

    Have you started buying cookware and plates? When I was taking my chef's course I was a bit obsessed with having all the tools of a professional chef and pastry chef. Also the plates you serve on can make or break presentation I find.


    1. You're totally right about plates. I recently bought some nice ones and they're a joy to eat off of. They really make a difference.

      I have an expensive chef's knife that I use every day but it's overly-worn and needs replacement. Shopping around for a replacement.

      I do know of and respect your culinary talent.

  3. That plate of food looks very tempting, I must say. I always eat with my eyes, so I totally agree that an effort on presentation is important. As my husband is retired, and I'm working full time, it's him who does most of the cooking. Sometimes, though, we are in a bit of a rut. I only enjoy cooking when I have all the time int the world! xxx

  4. I hate cooking, but I do all of it for me and L! I cook the bare basics, but it tastes good. L doesn't care about food, and I like to keep it simple. I do love eating other people's cooking though! Your zucchini looks amazing!

  5. Oooh, your courgettes look delicious!!! I would like a plate of those please Ally! Courgettes are one of my favourite foods and I do like buying the big ones!

  6. We have breaded and roasted eggplant and zucchini and what you did looks great.
    Getting into cooking has helped my wife accept me as a cross dresser. She is a great cook but some food preparation, especially peeling and cutting, can be exhausting and time consuming. I presented myself as the 'spare wife' that many woman wish they had. I would dress from head to toe and then get to work in the kitchen. Some things I do completely on my own such as large batches of soup or a great red sauce with meatballs and sausage.
    She may wonder why anyone would get fully dressed and made up with wig, hose and heels to work around the kitchen but we have found this to be a win/win arrangement.

    1. Pat, you should change your name to Sue Chef! :-)

    2. I can't see why anyone wouldn't want help in the kitchen. I totally get how enjoyable it is to dress up and cook.

  7. Before I use to put more effort into it. Lately no much.

  8. Ooo that sounds delicious.

    I like cooking. Ingrained Southern hospitality commands I feed people. It's how we show love.

    Human beings eat with more than our taste buds. Satisfaction and enjoyment are definitely heightened when you feed the eye. It's why the pricier restaurants have lower lightning, music to set the mood, etc.

    It's definitely selfcare to make up a beautiful plate, even if it's an old reliable chicken recipe.

    Tbh I wish I had more people who appreciated my culinary efforts!

  9. I'd be down for a plate of that! I find cooking to be a really relaxing activity. Granted, I'm a recipe-follower, and don't tend to experiment too much in the kitchen, but the recipes I do follow turn out pretty excellent if I say so myself :)