the project :: part the first

I have always loved to cook. I believe I started with sweet tea (which may or may not constitute “cooking,” per se) and chocolate chip cookies when I was somewhere between child and adolescent. My mom said both my sweet tea and my cookies were better than hers, and while this was likely just a mother’s overly-kind praise, it certainly did encourage me to continue in my endeavors.

Fast-forward a few years, and during the summer, when I was at home with my younger sister (who, by the way, has a blog, Sewaholic Summer, which is mostly about sewing, but occasionally about cooking), both parents at work, I would pull out my mom’s battered copy of Better Homes and Gardens Cookbook and look for interesting recipes to try (admittedly, they typically came from the desserts section).  On multiple occasions, my mom received phone calls where the first thing out of my mouth was something like, “What is a rolling boil?”  She would ask why I needed to know, and I would say, “Because I’m making fudge,” or “Because I’m making cream puffs.” She would tell me to wait until she got home, and I would respond that I’d already started, and so she would explain whatever cooking vocabulary my call regarded.  And she would arrive home to not-quite-smooth fudge or small pastries haphazardly filled with cream. And she would look pleased.

I somehow never lost the desire to try new recipes– success or fail, thankfully usually at least partial success.  After my mom died, I spent a summer during my teenage years, somewhat to my father’s chagrin, trying my hand at cooking entire dinners for my dad and younger sister.  One particular evening, I decided to try fried chicken.  I had never seen anyone make fried chicken, so it was certainly an experiment.  Two hours later, I had perhaps one of four or so breasts fried– the batter left behind in the oil.  Either we ate at 9:00 that evening or I gave up and just baked the chicken, I can’t remember.  I’m pleased to report, though, that fourteen years later I am able to fry four pieces of chicken, start to finish, in perhaps thirty minutes.

And here we are, today.  I still adore trying new foods and following new recipes.  So much so that I have designated 2011 as the “Year of New Foods.”  I will prepare 365 new meals, all completely from scratch (more on that later).  Most of the time, the new meal will be dinner, but because husband-dear really enjoys leftovers and gets a hankerin’ for, say, chili, at least half a dozen times a year, sometimes the new meal may be breakfast or lunch.  And, because we often travel and sometimes eat out, I cannot promise that each and every day will pass with a new meal.  Some days will have a spankin’ new breakfast, lunch and dinner.  No matter the frequency or the timing, at the turn of midnight on December 31, 2011, my recipe box will be 365 recipes fuller, and this blog will be 365(+) recipes richer.

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