At 41, I Finally Learned The Function of Each of My Kitchen Knives
And where in the fridge to store my leafy greens. Thanks to Google, I may finally be an adult.
I’ve never possessed any culinary skill. I’m fairly proficient in making spaghetti and frozen pizzas, and I do bake one mean spinach lasagna. But that’s basically where my cooking talents end. Needless to say, my contribution at holiday meals is a store-bought pie.
Okay, I’m kidding. I usually arrive late and empty-handed.
My mom once confessed that — while we were growing up — instead of inviting her three daughters into the kitchen while she cooked, she basically told us to stay the hell away. Maybe not in those exact words, but it was implied.
The kitchens in my past two homes have been less than chef-friendly. My first house had a claustrophobic galley; two people attempting to prepare a meal together was basically like a family of five trying to change clothes together in a Volkswagen Beetle.
My second kitchen was roomier, but still didn’t have an efficient prep-and-cook space. Do you have any idea how much food fell to the floor between slicing and dicing on one end of the room, then transporting it six feet to the oven? I won’t say whether or not I picked the dropped food up and cooked it anyway, but I’m sure you can guess.
In my defense, heat kills germs. Germs are good for the immune system. And I care about my family’s health.
It also lacked windows. Why would one be so sadistic to design a kitchen void of natural light? What if I want to grow some damn herbs in my windowsill? And actually see what I’m cooking?
Then, just like that, my family’s dietary life changed just over a year ago, after moving into this house we custom built.
My oldest daughter was curious.
Um…Mom? Why are you cooking? I mean, it’s awesome and all, you’ve just never really cooked much. And you’re getting all creative with stuff. You’ve never made any of these meals, like, ever.
Well, my dear child, it’s because I have a kitchen island. Plenty of counter space and lots of electrical outlets. And so much damn natural light from four windows and a sliding glass door that I’m seeing black dots right now.
And although I’m too blinded at the moment to chop this zucchini, it’s a glorious thing. You’ll understand when you’re older.
There is something very refreshing about preparing a meal in a space that you love.
My non-cooking self began finding joy in making breakfast. Popping a few pieces of bacon in the microwave turned into full-blown breakfast bowls. My lonely little bacon strips were now accompanied by scrambled eggs, spinach sautéed in garlic and olive oil, avocados, and sweet peppers. Topped with a dollop of pesto hummus.
I started calling my mom and asking her to text me recipes from my youth. Dinners became more elaborate. Our usual “Taco Tuesday” now includes homemade guacamole, and jalapeno ranch dipping sauce for my homemade tortilla chips. I even chop those bad-boy peppers by hand, using a knife from the new set my husband just bought.
He also bought a food processor. Since this appliance dates back to the 70’s, I’m embarrassed that I haven’t owned one before now. Even more so, I’m embarrassed that I have no clue what to do with it. Again, Google comes to my rescue.
And now I’m making my own almond flour and butter.
I’m not sure who this new me is, but I kinda hope she sticks around. She’s making some yummy dishes. She’s making her family happy. She made her son get in his veggie intake today by him eating 3 cheesy garlic “breadsticks” that were actually made of cauliflower.
Hello adulthood. I think I may have finally arrived.