It’s well established that my mother doesn’t cook. It’s not that she can’t – she’s a functional adult and perfectly capable of putting meals together. Just that where possible, she avoids it.
As such, my cooking instruction as a child extended to the basics of “how not to hurt yourself in a kitchen”, being pointed at the recipe books, given stern instructions to clean up after myself, and left to go nuts and learn.
So on the one hand, I LOVE cooking. I really do. On the other, a child’s approach to recipes is very “right, I’ve read it, now I’ll do my own thing”, which occasionally doesn’t work.
It especially doesn’t work for baking, which is a science. Cooking is art, so I can get away with it.
As an adult, my approach is also instinct + occasional recipe glances + “I wonder what happens if?” Mostly this results in food, because my instincts are good.
We’ll use today’s chicken, corn, and noodle soup as a prime example of how this process works.
Yesterday: two chicken carcasses + crockpot + water + long, slow cooking = several litres of chicken stock. Two liters got frozen, I was left with two-odd litres of stock, in delicious delicious refrigerated gel form.
Today: “Hmmm, I feel like soup.”
Picked the chicken carcasses for bones. Chopped up two small onions, sweated them in 50g of butter (yes, lots), with the picked off chicken (a bowlful before I gave up and threw the rest of the carcasses away). Added salt and pepper. Added celery seeds. Prodded it a bit. Added parsley. Prodded more, added italian herb mix.
Added half the stock, raided the freezer for veges, could not find mixed veges was looking for, found corn, decided corn was good enough. Added 2c of corn (very, very approx).
Returned to stove, prodded soup with spoon some more.
Pondered addition of noodles. Didn’t really want to use instant noodles. Looked at spaghetti thoughtfully. Took serving of spaghetti, broke into small (~1 inch pieces), dumped in pan.
Prodded soup with spoon some more.
Made cornflour slurry, added that. Added dried potato flakes.
Wandered away from stove while stock reduced and spaghetti cooked.
Wandered back, ran out of patience, served soup to self.
Three cups of soup later, I have determined that a) this is delicious soup and b) I really should put the rest in the fridge now before I explode.