Sorry for using the cheesy movie title. It was either that, or ‘Candy just realized she can’t cook’, ‘Soupbelly is Worthless’, ‘Soupbelly is a hack’, or just plain ‘Candy lost her mind’.
One of the biggest reasons I post is to get my basic cooking knowledge out there to nudge and inspire you to cook. Because recipes shouldn’t be kept secret. They should float around out there on the web, and people can create from them, change them, improve them, branch off from them and then recipes will evolve over time. And who knows if I’ll ever have recipes to hand down for generations. If I ever did have children, I’d teach them to be creative, to cook for themselves, and I’d just start them off with building blocks.
The second reason is to practice my skills in cooking and photography. And what motivates me is the comments I get from the readers. The comments inspire me and motivate me to try harder for you. And it almost feels selfish, because it makes me happy that people tell me they loved something I made, or tried it at home, or adapted my recipe, even posted their attempts on their own blogs. And if I didn’t get all the motivation from the readers, I honestly would be lost right now. I didn’t get many compliments, nor any positive reinforcement whatsoever as I was growing up. Asian parents don’t usually do that.
Sometimes, I also feel like I’m a hack. And it scares me to admit that.
Why? Well, I have no formal training in cooking. I don’t know the ‘right’ way to do things. I do things that way I believe will turn out good. Most of the time, I’m pleasantly surprised. Other times, I document what I accomplished, and how I would improve it. And a few times I failed miserably. I’m making things up as I go along most of the time. I wish I knew how to make a fancy dish now and then….especially now. I can never say I made something like Boeuf à la Bourguignonne, let alone pronounce it. Nor can I say I made a recipe from a celebrity chef. I had a nightmare I attempted a brownie recipe from the Bon Appétit magazine and the result was a giant green lump of goo. So who’s to say I’m any good at anything I do? I cooked at a daycare for a few months once. I can handle the pressure of cooking for 18 toddlers each morning and afternoon, and making a snack after their required naps. And who doesn’t like a snack after waking up from a nap? Plus they were toddlers, not grown adults with distinguished palates.
So that’s the reason I feel like I’m a hack. After reading through cookbooks and fancy food magazines I realized I don’t understand many of the instructions, let alone most of the ingredients themselves. I wanted to make a Gelato once but I got stuck on the term ‘cacao nibs’. I could google it but by the time I finished doing research on ‘cacao nibs’ and determined what they actually were I wouldn’t want Gelato anymore. Instead I’d pick up some ice cream at the store.
Am I going to tell you who’s coming to dinner? They are two people who are always critical of everything I do – my parents. Why am I writing so much about them? This post was about them, of course. Of how I feel like a hack, of how I don’t really know how to cook, about how every little negative thing they say to me makes me doubt my skill. And I try really hard not to say anything negative about my parents, but the two people who are coming to dinner are my parents, and they can be, well, critical of me at times. Most of the time. Like 90% of the time. And if not critical of my life choices, then apathetic towards the ones they don’t think matter much. Like my job.
My mom reads my blog at times, or at least looks at the recipes. My dad has no clue I have a blog. Nor do I intend on telling him about it. I can’t handle the criticism spewed from that conversation about my blog. It’s the only thing that gives me motivation right now.
Why does this matter to me so much? Because even though I’m 29 years old, and I moved out my parents’ house a long time ago, and made many decisions without them, I have yet for them to say anything positive to me. Encouraging. Supportive. And I let that go. Or I thought I did. Because I feel like, maybe subconsciously, I’m still waiting for that positive comment. I just want a damn pat on the back so I can move on. And then I realize I never did let it go. Most parents give their children unconditional praise, to the point where that kid grows up thinking they’re so fantastic they don’t strive. And most parents brag to other parents about their children. I’m not saying I wanted that at all. Well, the bragging would’ve been nice. I just wanted one positive comment. And not a backhanded one either. Like…’these meatballs are good. But meatballs are always easy to make’. OH BURN!
I won’t make meatballs for them.
So I sit here typing, pondering with extreme difficulty on devising a menu for tomorrow night’s dinner. It has to be planned with care. Nothing spicy. Nothing with spices. Nothing with the 2 quarts of fresh picked blueberries in the fridge. Nothing ‘trashy’. Nothing easy. Nothing chewy in texture. This is going to be a tough night for me. Tough couple nights actually. So here’s what I have so far:
Main Entree -
Side Dishes – Stuffed zucchini with bacon, breadcrumbs and cheese
– Baked potatoes and onions wrapped in foil, with butter, cream and chives
Dessert – Panna cotta topped with strawberries in balsamic vinegar, and chocolate sauce
If anyone has any ideas about appetizers or main entrees please let me know.
I’ll be here drinking a cocktail and ripping my hair out.
UPDATE: Here is an instant message from my mom referring to dinner: