First of all, I love reading recipe books, making a menu, and creating a grocery list. I love grocery lists, because I find the organization they provide so relaxing. I love making them myself in categories (produce always deserves and needs the most space), and I also love buying pads of paper that pre-prints a list for me. Recently, Hungry Girl mailed out a summer grocery list that everyone should keep with them at the store; I was hooked. The only problem with pre-printed lists are that they never really suit me or my cooking needs exactly. Nevertheless, I buy them and attempt to use them at least once.
Before actually making the list, I have to sit down and find the right recipes for the week. Usually, I don't think in terms of what is cost prohibitive, which is slowly becoming my downfall (1/4 cup of saffron? No Problem!). I just think about what sounds good at the time that I'm making my list. It usually serves me pretty well in that I follow through with all of the recipes most of the time (on occasion something will wilt or go bad before I need it and my lazy side takes over...instead of replacing the ingredient I just forget about the whole recipe...I feel really bad saying that out loud, but it's true).
The next thing that I love, directly associated, is cooking. I would cook all day long if someone would eat it and I could make whatever I wanted. I think more than cooking I really love prepping the food. I love to cut up vegetables and fruits and make little sauces and glazes. I find it to be fun. When I was little I used to cook from American Girl Doll cookbooks with the help of my mom (she wouldn't let me deep fry the hush puppies from Samantha's cook book). I also used to set up the video camera and record myself doing a cooking show. Most of the time I didn't watch them, but I made them multiple time. It was the fun of talking while I was cooking and getting to pretend that I was a tv chef. At that point, the Food Network was called TV FOOD and that was all that really existed on the channel.
The love of cooking has behooved me, and now I cook whenever I have the time. I don't know how good I am all the time, but I think most of what I make works out for me. My boyfriend always eats what I cook, and he will only tell me much, much later if he didn't like something. Normally, though, I can tell because he won't go back for seconds.
The big connector between making a grocery list and cooking a meal is going to the grocery store. I HATE going to the grocery store. I'm not sure what I hate about it, but I can never seem to find a time where the people and the atmosphere don't drive me mad. Yesterday at noon was not a good time to go. I have never seen so many dads with their children in the store at one time. This is truly a rare site if it isn't Sunday, and because of this fact they haven't learned the rules of the grocery store. Blocking an entire isle while you load up your undercart with Capri Suns is not okay. Neither is ignoring two screaming children who are old enough to know better while you question what flavor yogurt your wife wants. In addition, I can't stand when people don't know where things are, and because of this sentiment, I do my best to act like I know what I'm doing. Yesterday there was a slip-up; I was looking for Non-Fat Evaporated Milk. You would think baking aisle, right? No, it was the next aisle, and when I went to go ask the cooking demo lady (no thanks, I know what Ranch dressing tastes like on carrots), another woman tried to tell me where the Skim Milk was. She must have thought I was an idiot.
My favorite part about yesterday, though, was the Publix employee who was walking around the produce section offering grapes to people. Really? Grapes? I resisted and grinned as he passed, only to be looked at oddly by a 30-something man who thought I was nuts.