I owe my newly discovered enthusiasm for cooking in large part to Pinterest. And also to the fact that if I didn’t learn to cook by now, I’d go hungry or become morbidly obese from eating Wendy’s new pretzel bacon cheeseburgers every night.
Now that I’m on my own in the real world and my parents aren’t here to cook and clean and shop for groceries, I have come to the terrible conclusion that I must, at long last, learn to feed myself. This is something that most people figure out before the age of 23 and should actually be recommended, but I have scraped by on macaroni and cheese and Spaghetti-O’s. At this point, it’s been long enough. There’s only so much Ramen noodles and thin, watery sauce I can take.
So now that I’m in my new apartment, here goes nothing.
I have always figured that cooking was hard and time-consuming and dependent on ingredients that I didn’t feel like buying. This can sometimes be true, but it doesn’t have to be.
I discovered Pinterest awhile ago. It’s that addicting website aggregate where you group pictures representing sites together into “Puppies!” and “Dream wedding <3” and “Future kids?” and “Places I want to travel” and “Ways to design a house that I will never afford.”
I mostly pinned these things (minus the kids) as well as chocolate truffles and pumpkin milkshakes and the world’s best brownies. Recipes for summer sangria and Kahlua cupcakes and egg-less cookie dough to eat as a snack. Don’t worry, I never made these things.
In the midst of pinning the cutest golden retriever puppy ever and chocolate dipped bacon (yes, this exists), I discovered a yummy-looking picture of a chicken dinner that looked easy to make. I opened up the recipe, saw four ingredients listed and thought, hey, I could do this.
And now, almost two months after moving into my new place, I’ve made quite a few dinners, all found via Pinterest. I thought all of them were delicious, but I have quite a bit of learning to do.
When I pick out something to make, I have pretty high expectations. The professional picture on Pinterest looks so good, the directions are so simple a monkey could follow them. And yet, my inexperience in the kitchen gives me away. I have a hard time deciding which size bowl, or pot or pan, I will need. What constitutes as a “medium bowl” anyway? Medium compared to the other bowls I have, or medium compared to the bowls that the blogger has in her kitchen? How am I to know? I usually end up using a bowl that’s too small and I have to dump it into a larger bowl, adding to my mountain of dishes to wash later.
I am also inhibited by my lack of kitchen appliances or utensils. A recipe calls for a 2 quart baking dish and I only have a few smaller sizes. Or I’ll need a 9×9 pan and all I have is a 9×13. So I make do. Some things turn out well regardless. I haven’t screwed anything up entirely…yet.
I am terrible at chopping. Unfortunately I do not carry any innate talent for dicing tomatoes or chopping basil or cutting strawberries. This will come with practice I am sure, but at this point, when a recipe says it will be a quick 10-minute prep time followed by 15 minutes of baking and they can make the whole meal in the time it takes for their kid to watch an episode of Dora the Explorer, I know that my reality will be more like 30 minutes of prep time and possibly longer baking (I don’t know what they’re feeding chickens these days, but the boneless, skinless chicken breasts I’ve been buying are huge.)
The best part of finding these easy, “15-minute” meals (read 40-minute) on Pinterest, is that I discover a blog, created by someone else who works, or takes care of kids, and has very little time and energy, and they post lots of other quick easy recipes.
During dinner, I ask my boyfriend, on a scale of one to ten, how good the meal is. I’ve gotten a 6, some 7’s and an 8.5… I’m still waiting for the day I get a 10.