I’ve been eating better. I’ve been, say, seventy percent of the time, adhering to this thing called the Paleo Diet. There are a lot of rules, most of which nudge you toward cooking your own food. So I’ve been cooking a lot of my own food.
We have, actually. Alicia and I. She’s been cooking breakfast, I’ve been cooking dinner. Lunch has been a collaboration, often made from leftovers. This has been going on for over a year.
I’ve learned a lot. How to cut onions, mangoes, green peppers, etc. Not to fill a pan too much, lest moisture accumulate. How to use the broiler and what it’s good for. How to use a crock pot (and how not to use a crock pot).
I’ve made flourless pizza dough from scratch and flourless banana bread, egg muffins, omelets, fried fish, broiled fish, baked fish, seared steaks and pork chops, fried plantains, curries, “breaded” fish and chicken and pork and even chicken fried steak. I can’t think of a vegetable I haven’t roasted, steamed or sauteed. My mashed sweet potatoes are fantastic. My stir fries are — actually my stir fries are sub-par. I need to work on those.
There’s a lot I need to work on, actually. I’m not comfortable juggling more than two or three dishes at once. Braising is intimidating. I’d like to get comfortable throwing a stew together from ingredients on hand. Reducing sauces (say, from pan juices) has been a challenge. I want to figure out a good spice mix to make my almond butter more interesting. I’m still shaky with allspice or fish sauce or, hell, let’s say about a third of the other spices in the racks.
So I’d call this a hobby now. Cooking. I’m not aiming too high or anything, just enjoying it, the work of it. Sometimes the results.