In college all I cooked was ramen noodles and what I called "broccoli surprise": broccoli mixed with various kinds of mustards, a few different spices, and sometimes a salad dressing or two. All served on a bed of Cheese-its.
Part of my lack of cooking came from laziness and the other part came from not knowing anything about cooking. Let's be honest: I was afraid of cooking.
I didn't know what I was doing. I was a poor college student. I didn't want to ruin what little food I had by cooking it badly. So instead of experimenting, I just made what I knew.
Eventually that changed. I made macaroni. I made rice. I adjusted canned sauces to taste better. Soon I found a sort-of home-made recipe for pasta sauce. I watched the Food Network and learned how to cook chicken properly. I experimented some more. No more boxed Mac & cheese, I was making cheese sauce from scratch!
I was more confident. I was adjusting recipes to match my tastes and to make them more healthy. Whenever I ate out, I tried to figure out what the cook or chef did to make my meal.
Another thing that helped my cooking "career" was the fact that my cousin starting going to culinary school. My cousin and I enjoy a bit of one-ups-man-ship. He prides himself as a great cook (which he is) and he likes to teach me something new every time we hang out.
I started using fresh herbs. I started making sauces based on a Roux. I started using vegetables and ingredients I had never even heard of when I was in college.
Ten years ago I never would have dreamed I'd be saying this, but I love to cook, and I'm good at it.
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