What’s cookin’?

December 1, 2010

Since we’re in the holiday season between Thanksgiving to Christmas, I’m thinking a little more than usual about cooking. So I posted a couple of recipes for people that don’t have time for recipe war extravaganzas like Dr. Isis* and PhysioProf** did. Thought you all that haven’t made it over to Scientopia yet might want a look.
If I have any talents in the kitchen, I describe them as being a cook. I’m not a gourmet chef like MarkCC of Good Math, Bad Math (I mean seriously? get out!) and the two aforementioned recipe warriors. I mean, I can handle a complicated recipe and all and I do like that style of food smithing now and again. But where I really come alive is in opening the fridge, finding whatever is in there and trying to make something tasty based around the basic starches. Pasta. Rice. Potatoes. Or from a hunk of insert-meat-here. Or even from “There’s nothing to eat in here honeee!”
My spouse bakes. Oh, this is fantastic because if there is one thing I really don’t do in the kitchen it is bake. I can manage to not screw up a cheesecake too badly but… yeah, the oven and I do not get along. The range is my friend.
My spouse, OTOH, isn’t much of a cook. Recipe’d meals, no problem, and it all comes out tasty. Some of the signature work from that part of the household is awesome. But there just isn’t the same love there that I have for cooking. For having a basic knowledge of how you cook particular ingredients and throwing them together as variations on the basic themes for decidedly unfancy meal preparation.
I wonder how many of you all have this division of talent when it comes to food preparation? It isn’t like we did this by design but for the most part this balance of preferences works out well.
Hey, how ’bout a little poll? Select all that apply…

In the kitchen, I describe myself asonline surveys

Whoa, that was a diversion. Anyway, back to the point. Recipes for the rest of us.
Cranberry-orange bread
Slow cooker split pea soup
*mmmmm, carnitas. another recipe from Namnezia.
**credit where due, this recipe single handedly put me back on brussel sprouts. I hadn’t eaten them in probably two decades or more.

11 Responses to “What’s cookin’?”

  1. sciwo Says:

    Would be interesting if you added a companion poll about the the talents of significant others with respect to yours. Do cooks tend to live with bakers? Do opposites attract?


  2. DrugMonkey Says:

    geez, if I knew this was all it took to get SciWo to return from the bloggy-dead I’d have posted recipes a long time ago!
    How’s it goin?


  3. becca Says:

    Love it. I think of baking as much more precise, and I think some of your distinctions come down the same way.
    I can cook or bake, but I wait to bake until I’m inspired and really get much more into it. So in practice I enjoy baking more, but I wouldn’t if I had to do it all the time.
    Carebear is like you and can make food out of the strangest assorted dribs and drabs of leftovers, or a million variations on stock stewpot dishes or noodle dishes or…


  4. k8 Says:

    Oh! I love, love, love to cook. But I’d call myself more of an experimenter in the kitchen. Sure, I know how to cook lots of amazing things, but it’s the new things that really pique my interest.


  5. stripey_cat Says:

    I ticked cook, because (to me) chef implies a professional. While I can fuss up what we tend to call dinner-party food, I generally default to relatively straight-forward meals most of the time. (Partly this is because of budgetry constraints.) Then again, looking at Mark’s recipes you linked to, I’d class them as good, plain cooking! I suspect it would be enlightening to ask people how they define the different styles you mention. Also, while I love baking, my waistline does not need regular cakes or pastries, and I don’t really regard making plain breads as enough to bump me into that category; I have the skills, but rarely exercise them.


  6. Fia Says:

    I’ve always guessed that couples divide the cooking dishwise! Here, MIA’s the baker, and the pasta chef (I’m per decret not allowed to boil anything pasta like), I’m in for meat and salads. MIA is desserts, I am soups. He’s gratins, I am stews. Oh, we have very clear lines in the kitchen!


  7. leigh Says:

    oh, i am by far more of a baker, but i have my manic cooking sprees, too.
    the cooking-with-whatever’s-available was learned by necessity, but i don’t particularly relish the challenge. maybe when i’m more distant from the days of having 3-4 food items in an otherwise-empty kitchen.
    baking is where i have the most fun. seems a lot like chemistry to me, which is right up my alley.


  8. TonyC Says:

    I bake – my wife cooks (kinda like you guys — she can make ingredients into a meal, and her soups are to DIE for!)
    I make bread, and pies, and pastries*, and tarts. Which means I’m also Desert-Man™: making the world fatter one delicious slice at a time’
    * anyone who uses store-bought pastry deserves to eat it! I can think of no greater crime, nor a greater punishment!


  9. TonyC Says:

    RE Brussels Sprouts…
    For a thanksgiving side, my wife made pan seared brussel sprouts, with a bacon, onion, red pepper and cherry tomato … sauce? garnish? dressing?
    Whatever it’s called, we went, we ate, and left no sprouts uneaten at the end of the meal (and she made extra so we could have leftovers)!
    People who hadn’t eaten sprouts for decades, tried one, then went back for a plate of sprouts with a little turkey!
    Heaven on a plate (at least, as close to heaven as an atheist like me will ever get!)


  10. My slow cooker and rice cooker are the only reason I’m not starving to death.


  11. beatrice Says:

    I love fish and last night i visited with a japapenese friend, an amazing international cuisine master. He prepared spigola al cartoccio. Fantastic dish. I have not gotten the recipe yet but I will share it as soon as I have it. Delicious


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