Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Day 12 | Everybody Has to Start Somewhere

Back on Day 1 I shared a horribly embarrassing story about how at age 16 I still didn't know how to boil water.  And the chaos that ensued.  I also shared that my cooking skills hadn't improved much between the time I scorched my mama's kitchen to the time I got married.  So how did I learn?

Everybody has to start somewhere.

Our first kitchen.

My story is a little depressing.  Though in retrospect, I look at it and I can't help but laugh.

I graduated from college, got married, and moved across country within a matter of 2 1/2 months.  The only time I ever moved away from the city I was born in was when I left for college.  I had never lived out of state.

For me, that was a looooot of change in a very short amount of time.  As a recent psychology major, I knew that each of those three events were "life events" and each would require adjustment periods and it's normal to be depressed when going through major life changes.

As a person living through 3 major life changes, I just shut down.  I knew I would only be living in Washington D.C. for 5 months before we would be moving again.  Every time I left the house by myself I ended up lost somewhere in Maryland.  I wasn't planning on taking time to search for a job I would only be able to work at for 2 or 3 months, and I was pretty sure that no one would want to invest time in training someone who would be leaving so soon anyway.  So I just didn't try.  To say that my attitude was pessimistic is an understatement.

My solution: stay at home, only leave the house when the Hubster could drive me, and watch TV and read books all day.

Oh, it was beyond pathetic.  I know.  I tried to tell myself I was decompressing after years of studying hard.  In reality, I was bored to tears.  But during my endless hours of doing nothing at all I discovered Paula Deen and her show, Paula's Home Cooking.

 Our first "sofa" where I watched cooking shows.

I started watching because she reminded me of my sister-in-law's mother.  She was a friendly face, and I was living in a place that was technically the South, only it was as if everyone forgot their Southern manners.  Unfriendly, unsmiling, no one saying "good morning" or "good evening", if you smiled at a stranger they looked at you like you were an idiot, and let's not even get started with the driving.  Suffice it to say the courtesy wave in DC uses a different finger than the one used in Texas.  And the passing wave just doesn't exist.

I was 100% a fish out of water and I was dying.

So I watched Paula Deen.  And for 30 minutes I was reminded of home each day.  Then I started watching Rachel Ray.  And Giada DeLaurentis.  And then something happened.  I stopped thinking about how lonely I was, and how much I missed friendly faces, and how much I hated where we lived, and I started thinking that maybe, maybe, I could chop an onion like Rachel Ray did.  And maybe I could make a chicken pot pie like Paula Deen's.  And I probably could make Giada's pasta primavera.

I still use these canisters.  :)

Instead of wallowing in my own personal pity-party, I started scrounging around in the kitchen.  Which was not at all fully stocked.  I was lucky to have flour and dried basil and oregano.  I wanted to cook, but I had virtually no ingredients on hand.  And if I could have figured out which of the 4 exits from our apartment complex took me across Van Dorn street to the Safeway, I might have ventured out.  But I always ended up on Duke street and the 395 by accident.  So I worked with what I already had.

See my spices all lined up?  And the bachelor pad decor?  Fun times.  :)

And somewhere in the trials and errors and tears and homesickness I learned how to cook.

It used to take me 2 hours to make one of Rachel Ray's 30 minute meals.  I was constantly re-reading the recipes and constantly forgetting ingredients and steps.  But I was learning.

 My stove.  We still use that tea kettle from my friend Laura!

I didn't have all the tools I thought I needed.  But because I started, I learned.

I barely had any space to cook.  But I started where I was, with what I had, and I learned.

Of course, you never stop learning.  This was my beginning; where I started.  It's not where I am now, and God willing where I am now is not where I will end.  But if you never start, you will never learn.  You will always say "I wish I could" instead of "I bet I can".

My beginning was meager, for sure.  But it was a start.  And looking back, I would not change one thing.  Even my bad attitude.  I had hard lessons to learn about life, and I needed to learn them.

And I learned to cook, too!

What have you always wanted to learn to do?  What is keeping you from starting?

Check out all the other 31 Dayers here.

1 comment:

  1. I love this look back, sometimes we forget how far we've come! Your mention of the "courtesy wave" cracks me up. :)