Friday, July 1, 2011

Cooking Club...Aye.Aye.Aye.

I mentioned this before, but I was asked to join a cooking club a few months ago.  At first I was hesitant to add one more thing to my schedule, but I'm so glad I tried it.  It's proved itself very wonderful.  

Each person takes a turn hosting.  The host picks the cuisine, make the drinks (usually adult and non-adult seeing that 1/2 of us are preggers), and sets the table.  

Here are the reasons that I love it:

1. The drinks are always fun.  
This time we had lemongrass tea, cranberry lemonade and margaritas.
2. The food is always great.  
Well researched, well planned, some experimental, but always yummy!
3. The table is always set nicely.  This isn't a rule.  
With just a handful of girls to enjoy it, it's always appreciated.  
{See below...we each got a potted succulent to take home...holla!}
4. Along the same lines, we dress cute.  
With no kids around to pull at our outfits, 
we enjoy wearing something that is not toddler friendly.
5. It's not competitive.  Really, it's not.  
It's just the opposite.  Like we're learning from each other.
6. The best part: we talk about food...almost the whole time.  Where we get our food, how much we spend, what are our quick meals we go for, etc.  

This time, we were all asked to share our food story.  How we got where we are in terms of food outlook, food philosophy, and cooking in general.  Two girls left before I told my story, and one of them suggested I put it on my blog.  Sounds cool.  So, here it goes:

I grew up with two good cooks.  Very different cooks.  My mom was a very precise cook.  The science of cooking.  My dad {chef by profession} was not precise at all.  The art of cooking.  The kind by taste.  

I have very vivid memories of watching them cook.  My mom leveling the teaspoons and tablespoons as she added them to very precise recipes.  My dad cooking for the masses, like the time I helped him make 5930451 muffins.  The batter so big, we mixed by hand {nay, arm.}

When I got married, I was very comfortable cooking and trying new things.  As I made meals day after day, I called my dad for tips/recipes/help/ideas.  This is where things got interesting.  He doesn't really give recipes.  Instead, he gives lists of ingredients and I had to somehow figure out what to do with them.

As I tried new things, I had fun.  We entertained A LOT, and for big groups of people.  I felt like I was a bit more comfortable in a kitchen than most of my friends, so I always got praise for whatever I had made.  Fueled by the praise and wanting to get the best woman I could be, I just kept trying things and cooking things.  But, we were still eating pretty unhealthy.  I was the kind of cook that could cook from scratch, but I could also do a lot of cool things with a ranch dressing packet.  

John started getting interested in food.  He read some Michael Pollan books.  Gradually, we were influenced by the whole foods movement.  And we've grown from there.  We're somewhere in between whole food hippies and oreo-lovin' Americans.  

As each girl shared her story, I found a pattern.  We came from two types of households:

Homes where food was wonderful, unique, and healthy.  Varieties of flavors, textures, and usually involved a lot of fruits and veggies.  A pattern that has continued on.
Homes where food was easy, processed, and different variations of ground beef and carbs.  A pattern that was changed, then influenced by the same whole foods movement that got us.

Either way, we are at the same place.  A passion for different colors, flavors, textures, combined with a dedication to REAL food.  Some for health reasons.  Some for art reasons.  Some as just lifestyle choices.  

'Cause that's just how we roll.  

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