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Friday, July 29, 2011

My Gratitude Journal: Cooking

SPECIAL NOTE: Starting Monday, August 1, this blog will run its first ever book give-away, one book per week for six weeks. Check back Monday for details on how to win.

I'm not a great cook. I sometimes use short-cuts such as pre-bagged salad, pre-grated cheese and even bottled lemon juice. I once silenced a group of co-workers who were talking about how to make the perfect pie pastry by admitting that I use butter-flavored shortening in my crusts. Their embarrassment for me was palpable; I decided not to defend myself by mentioning I'm lactose intolerant.

That said, I have to admit I'm not bad, either. I seldom use pre-packaged meals and even in recipes that rely heavily on pre-canned foods, I often turn to the products of my own home canning. The meals I prepare are edible, even tasty, and while no one is nominating me for Gourmet of the Year, they aren't recommending me for the Bad Cooks program on the food channel, either.

Cooking is a necessary skill for one of moderate means who also likes to eat. Beyond that, it's a great way to express creativity. True, not all creativity is good. My sister may never forgive me for the stuffed cucumbers I baked one evening, but I was thirteen years old at the time. My experiments since then have generally been more successful.

Although the need to cook can become more chore than fun, I'm grateful for the creative outlet cooking gives me, and for the family members who are willing to try almost anything I create -- even baked, stuffed cucumbers.

Unlike a book which goes through multiple editors, marketers and art directors, a recipe can be 100% within the cook's control from beginning to end, and it's fun to see a project through, knowing that it's all on me.

So thank you, Cooking, for the fun you've given me and for feeding my family all these years.

What, besides dinner, has cooking done for you? Share?

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