I’ve been toying with the idea of releasing a cookbook. It wouldn’t be strictly recipes and pictures, however.
When I started university, I was shocked at how many of my peers didn’t know how to 1) do their own laundry; and 2) cook for themselves. I don’t know if it’s privilege to not learn how to cook (someone always did it for them, whether it was a cook or a relative) or a privilege to learn how to cook (having the means to prepare food at all). But I’m going to say learning to cook is one of the necessities in life, especially for someone who is on a budget, trying to eat more healthily, or suddenly living on their own—as most university students are. After all, there’s the “Freshman Fifteen” that comes with eating shit food on campus (or from the numerous takeout places inevitably nearby).
I’ve been cooking for myself since time immemorial. Or since I was, like, fourteen. Actually, I’ve been involved in helping prepare meals my whole life. My parents and grandparents were decent enough to teach me that helping to cook and helping to clean are part of the package of eating food in their houses. (Bonus: if you helped with food prep at my grandparents’ house, you didn’t have to help with food clean-up.) I consider this a privilege in this day and age—in the age of convenience and classism, that is. The “convenience” part is what I frown upon the most in the food industry. As much as I love hummus I can buy and eat immediately, my homemade hummus is infinitely tastier. Also, store-bought guacamole? No. Just no.
I’m still battling an eating disorder, and cooking is one of the few ways that I’ve been able to make progress toward having a normal and healthy relationship with food. I’m a hands-on kind of person. I like to make something and then use it—furniture, a website, stationery, and now food. Seeing that progress and success (or failure) helps me immensely with how I look at food.
I can’t exactly snub the people who dislike cooking, though. There are risks and inconveniences in every meal—am I going to burn myself? Is this meat cooked enough? Do I really have to wash all these dishes? Is there too much salt? Why are there so many dishes??
But, damn, the rewards are so much grander when you learn to cook.
So I want to compile a how-to, of sorts, for all the single ladies out there; for all the students out there; for all the people who lack the confidence to cook and feed theirself; for all the people who toss leftovers because they’re boring. Some of my friends and peers have commented that I eat well (which, I’ll be honest, 80% of the time I do! The other 20% of the time consists of Chinese takeout, liquor, and pizza). I’m a fiend for leftovers, whether it’s eating the same meal over and over, or using my leftovers for something else. I’m not sure why I’m hesitant to take on this project. Perhaps my fantasy WIP is eating at me and demanding my full writing attention—but that wouldn’t make sense, because I also maintain the blog. My mind is already aflutter with topics I can cover; with guides; with charts and diagrams I can make; with lists of the tools needed to start learning how to cook; with titles and chapters.
I guess what I’m trying to ask is this:
Do you think I can do it? Do you think it’d be useful?