Conveniently, Huy Tran wanted to know, “Where/how did you learn how to cook? Are your parents good cooks or was it more of something you learned on your own?”
Kind of a combination. My parents are both decent cooks, although I recently realized that my mom doesn’t like it or really care that much. She likes to eat, but she’d much rather have someone else cook, whether that’s me, my dad, a restaurant, or a frozen dinner. Anyway, they always made dinner from scratch when I was growing up; not many convenience foods, although they mostly did use frozen instead of fresh vegetables.
I still mostly taught myself, though, out of cookbooks. I’ve picked up a few techniques from my parents, but I don’t cook like them at all. They tend to be “meat, vegetable, starch” people, for a variety of reasons, whereas I don’t eat much meat and I like one-pot meals that hold up well to multiple meals over the course of a week. So my cooking style has developed and evolved in conversation with cookbooks and blogs more than with my family.
I did a lot better on the shopping front last weekend, which is good because I’m trying to conserve a little cash to get me through the last weekend of the month before my budget resets. Here’s what I bought:
Farro — $5.09
Marinated artichoke hearts — $2.09
Chocolate bar — $2.89
Butternut squash — $2.18
Garlic — $.39
Red onion — $.73
Yellow onions — $.43
3 lbs apples — $2.99
Red pepper — $.34
Milk — $1.59
Feta cheese — $1.54
Grocery store total with tax: $20.20
Yukon gold potato: $1.50
Total shopping: $25.70
Using these along with pre-existing pantry items (eggs, pumpkin seeds, and stuff like flour and sugar) I made:
—Butternut squash, farro, and feta salad with pepitas to take to work for lunch (4 servings)
—A potato, red pepper, and artichoke tortilla to take to work for breakfast (4 servings)
–and an olive oil plum cake for snacks and desserts.
As you might be able to tell, I use Smitten Kitchen a LOT. I find that her tastes and style vibes with mine pretty well. The squash/farro salad is in the regular rotation for my take-to-work lunches, and I’ve made the tortilla before too. It’s a fair amount of work/dishes the way that I made it (sauteing a red pepper rather than using one from a jar, and having to boil a potato just for this rather than using a leftover) but I’m trying to have breakfasts that have more protein and oomph in them, because I’ve been getting hungry too early in the day lately.
The plum cake, I can’t really recommend. It’s edible, but it’s just not that great; the plums taste slightly medicinal and the cake itself is a little stiff and dry.
I have several dinners I have to go to for work this week, so I just decided to have cheese sandwiches and apples for dinner the other nights, which since I already had bread and cheese decomplicated that part of the shopping trip.