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The Unnatural Cook

a chronicle of weekly meal plans from someone who can't just throw a meal together

Something strange is happening to me; I enjoyed cooking dinner last night.

I marinated the steak in white wine, garlic, salt, pepper & oregano without finding a recipe for “marinating steak.” I sliced the mushrooms quickly and evenly using my bread slicing technique. Then I cooked the mushrooms in butter and oil and threw in some thyme because I know my mother-in-law pairs thyme with mushrooms in an appetizer she makes. I happily sliced onions to saute, cheese to melt, and bread to grill. I even let my husband teach me how to use the grill.

I have always liked to eat but I have never liked to cook. This is the first time I can ever recall feeling that cooking was a pleasurable activity. A miracle. Having been forced by the blog to pay attention to what I’m doing in the kitchen has inadvertently taught me some cooking skills. Those skills mean less following instructions, more trusting my senses.

The  way I used to hew to a recipe kept me from engaging my senses. If the recipe said cook for one hour, I cooked for one hour. I forgot to taste the food, watch it, smell it. Now I find myself sampling the mushrooms and the spinach as they cook, seeing how the flavor changes the longer the vegetables are in the pan. It’s no wonder I never associated cooking with pleasure before! Pleasure depends on the senses – if you leave them out of the affair, cooking is bound to be a chore.

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