Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Almost 1 Year of Cooking! What now?!

It was on my 2008 New Years eve trip to Canmore that I cooked up the idea for this blog. With my 2009 New Years Eve trip to Canmore on the horizon, I've started to think. It amazes me that my blog has been viewed almost 5000 times in the past year, but now I decide - will the blog continue on or end with the year?

After seeing the movie a few months ago, I am currently reading the book that "Julie & Julia" was based on. So far the book has been much more eye opening than the movie. It's so easy for me to relate to her ups and downs and it's definitely made me understand my own reasons for doing this and why it makes me so crazy at times! Although I enjoy (still can't say "love") cooking, I have absolutely no desire to be a world renowned chef. My skills will never leave my kitchen or my home. So why do I do it? The way Julie describes her feelings with such passion while in the middle of cooking something for someone else made me understand exactly why I started this blog and why I keep trying to be a good cook.

It's not just about the finished product. It's about everything that leads up to the finished product. First, you need to think of the person you're cooking for. You think about what they like and maybe their favorite restaurants. After that comes the research - the Internet, the library, my cookbook shelf. Then when you finally pick a recipe, you make a list (one of my favorite parts) and you go to the grocery store and get everything you'll need to make this wonderfully personalized dish. When you finally start cooking there's a feeling of excitement building up, wondering if that person will absolutely love it. Throughout the whole process, you're thinking of that person and that's why it's so special. I may not be able to do the laundry (it's true), and I can't shovel the snow because I'm permanently cold (also true) but I can make a mean batch of gingersnaps that I know Jason will love and devour in an inappropriate amount of time once he's done shoveling. It's not the actual cooking that I "love"... it's finding a great recipe and watching the person you made it for go back for seconds that I love!
Looking back on my blog now, a lot of the things I made were more than just a meal. I remember making the carrot ginger soup for my mom when she was sick, my first lasagna for Jason after he finished his big ski race and that painfully rich cheesecake I made for my brothers birthday. While I'm cooking, I'm thinking about these people. I cook to look after people, I cook when I'm proud of people and I cook to let people know I care.

Although relaxing and even therapeutic, it is the same emotion and passion I put into my food that drives me crazy and makes me want call it quits at times. There's been a lot of meals you've never seen - never even heard of them in fact. You probably just assumed we had macaroni or went out to eat but oh no. There's been pink chicken, pasta that tasted like pennies, cakes that didn't rise and there's been tears. Lots and lots of tears (ask Jason!). I get mad at the oven, I curse the lack of space in the kitchen and I always feel so guilty scraping our meals in to the garbage. As with most things I do, I strive for perfection. Although I've been reassured time and time again that this is all a part of the learning process, I take it personally when something doesn't turn out because I made it personal.

Sometimes people say they wish they had the patience to make little finicky things (like the penguins for example). Well sometimes I wish I could just buy a black forest cake instead of spending $30 on ingredients to make a miserable looking one because that's the only way I feel the cake will mean anything. The stress of being an emotional cooker is immense, let me tell you!

However, I know that I'm still making progress and once in a while I'll get a little boost that keeps me going. Yesterday, Jason said his lunch (consisting of herbed pork) smelled so good he was going to make everyone else in the office jealous. I told him I always wanted to be "that" girlfriend and he said I always was. Little things like that keep me going. People going back for seconds, a nice comment on my blog - it all inspires me.

So now I face the decision - do I keep on blogging or do I end it now? Either way, I'll probably keep on cooking.  I fear without the blog though, I'll lose the drive to try new things. It feels like I'm not finished with it- like I'll never be finished really. There's so much more to learn and things are not coming naturally to me yet. On the other hand, I fear with keeping the blog, I'll drive myself crazy because new recipes are bound to fail. I don't want to just give up on learning... but there's no new oven in my future and I won't have a mixer anytime soon (until my mom gets her new handheld one and I get the old one) and it all adds up to annoying hurdles in my cooking journey.

What do you think?


  1. Continue! You must continue! I love reading about your recipes and I'm the same way in the kitchen, except imagine more Jason (I can get rather...mouthy...when I'm upset or frustrated). It's so much better to know that beautiful and tasty creations have to be worked at, but can be achieved, rather than just seeing a picture perfect photograph and a recipe and a comment of "and it's just that easy!" from the chef.

  2. Life without the Red Table Kitchen? No, it can't be! I have lived every sucess and failure along with you and have shared your joys and disappointments too. I have admired you for taking on the challenges you did, many that I would never even consider. The thought and love you poured into your creations was evident and very real. You have learned so much along the way and I did too. Just reading your food adventures was like spending time with you in your kitchen and it was so enjoyable. But, most of all, you are lucky to live with a willing and always hungry connoisseur who is so supportive of your interests ( and he shovels and does laundry too!) so how could you even consider ending this delightful window into your culinary adventures? We await your decision with fingers crossed for another year of the RED TABLE KITCHEN.