So why this blog, you ask?
One day, I was reading one of the well known food magazines out there. There is a section in this magazine that has 30-minute meals that are under $10. I looked at the ingredient listing and decided I was going to make it. A challenge if you will. I went to 4 different grocery stores and the cheapest I could find the ingredients was $22 – and that was with leaving out pantry staples. The spices alone were over $10. It kind of ticked me off.
So with the inability to make the meal for the stated amount, I decided I was going to time myself. I had 30 minutes to complete the meal from start to finish. This particular meal included a lot of chopping vegetables. It took me 20 minutes alone to do all the chopping. All-in-all it took me about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
Once I was done, I compared pictures. Now I know there are professionals that style the food for photo shoots. I get that. But I was very frustrated that sometimes my dishes didn’t even come close. Then one day, when analyzing a recipe that went wrong, I realized that their food had totally different ingredients in it. So either they let their food stylists add things to the dishes, or they tweaked the recipe and neglected to change it.
I quickly came to realize that:
- Many magazines base the “Cost of Recipe” on amount used, not amount to purchase.
- Professional chef/recipe writers don’t include menial tasks (like chopping/grating/etc) in the recipe time
- Recipes could be published incomplete or different from what was photographed
Now these things are annoying, but not the main reason that I started the blog.
See, I bring a lot of my food as leftovers and often I’ll cook and bake for co-workers. A lot of people would ask me:
- How to cook
- Where I got my recipes
Honestly, I taught myself to cook. Yeah, my mother cooked, but she was always too busy to teach me anything. She’d direct me to stir a sauce or chop up some onions. We really didn’t cook together. So when I moved out, I would try things here and there. I LOVE cookbooks and magazines and started collecting them. Little by little, I started cooking more, learning from my mistakes.
Now, when someone asks me where I get my recipes, I’ll tell them which book/magazine I’ve gotten it from. Usually I’ll offer to let them copy it. Then I got to thinking, if I altered a recipe, how would they know that? What if something wasn’t clear in the recipe that I had worked out on my own? Finally, if there were like me and didn’t know how to do certain things, would they know where to go to find help?
I started worrying about people giving up on cooking. Believe me, I hear it a lot – “I’ve tried to cook, but I can’t ever make things work out.” I started looking at the articles and recipes I had been giving people and realized: I've been cooking a long time and if I can't make these things in the same amount of time, spending the same amount of money and making them look pretty, how is someone just starting out cooking going to do it? I didn’t want people to give up before they even got started because of a badly written recipe. No wonder people have reverted to eating fast food so often!
And from that, the blog was born. My cousin, a chef and bakery owner, said I should document my mistakes and show people how to fix them. Explain how to do things that maybe I was unsure how to do when I started. Finally, share some of my favorite recipes with all my changes.
When I make a meal plan, I try to do easy but yummy, but I’m not afraid to try something a little difficult. I’m going to be honest and tell you the things that tasted great and the ones that taste no-so-great. Which ones were easy and the ones that made me cry trying to make them. Finally, I always try to balance out my meals. Of course I indulge on occasion, but I try really hard to make all my meals as healthy as possible.
I encourage feedback, but please read my Rules for Posting Comments. Finally, if you want to talk to me, you can e-mail me at YouWantMeToCook@gmail.com. I promise I’ll respond as soon as I can.