I Hate Cooking/I Love Cooking

For some months now, whenever I talk to my mom on the phone on the weekends, we usually end up talking about cooking. She actually likes to cook although she has little to no confidence in her cooking. If she invites folks over, she will preface her serving of the meal with comments saying things like the food might not be great. We always tell her she shouldn’t say that. That she should be confident with her cooking and not set up an environment of failure or lowered expectations. I think that it is hard for her since she lives in the shadow of my friend Joe’s cooking. Joe’s cooking is usually involved and sometimes fancy and always completely delicious. And don’t be fooled, he uses a lot of anchovies. And you might not think that those little fishies are totally yummy, but they are.

I have recently come to love buying ingredients which I have never used before and attempting to get my 8 year old son to eat whatever it is. Take hominy for instance. I did not even know what it was till I googled it. If you are uncertain, it is whole corn kernels soaked in something so that the outer part of it softens. The kernels turn into giant soft corn pillow goodness. I made a vegetarian posole with it. The 8 year old loves the hominy, the posole, not so much. But that is OK.

I frequently enjoy purchasing mystery vegetables to cook at home. After eating lotus root prepared in many different and delicious dishes at Yuzu restaurant, we now frequently pick up the strangely alien looking potato-like thing in Chinatown (we know where to get it) and make lotus root

Alien Lotus Root

Alien Lotus Root

chips. They are crunchy on the outside and chewy on the inside and are usually eaten immediately from the oven. We have purchased large flat beans from the farmer’s market which are scrumptious steamed and Japanese turnips from MA’O organic farm which are loved by my son. Baby bok choy is a regular in our house, stir fried with garlic. I love the challenge and the experimentation.

So I have these cooking conversations with my mother, she keeps saying to me, “for someone who doesn’t like to cook, you sure cook a lot.” My answer is always that if I don’t cook I don’t know what my family would eat all week. Every weekend we have this conversation. It has taken quite some time but I recently realized that I may have to admit that she could actually be right. I spent quite a few hours in the kitchen on Sunday, cutting and cooking and just really liking it. I love trying new things and new recipes and new ingredients. While not everything is delicious (let’s not even discuss the egg fruit we tried the other night) most times I like the challenge to prepare something that is foreign. These cooking escapades have mostly resulted in good outcomes, unless you count the scary bitter melon that I couldn’t bring myself to use. It is a challenge that I will face quite soon, that ugly knobbly vegetable. Who knows, maybe this weekend.

About nematomorph

Living like the rich and famous, splitting time between Hawaii and New York.
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5 Responses to I Hate Cooking/I Love Cooking

  1. maukamakai says:

    1. Joe eats anchovies? . . .
    2. You eat anchovies? . . .
    3. I made this for the first time yesterday, it was good. used vegetarian chorizo.
    4. Anchovies?

    • nematomorph says:

      There are certain exceptions made in NY. Anchovies- don’t ask, don’t tell. Joe is one of those seafood eaters. I have decided to embrace fake meat products in my cooking. Chorizo sounds interesting. I may have to give it a go.

  2. FreeRangeNan says:

    I buy small, young bittermelon at the farmers market (Kogachi sometimes has at Blaisdell Wednesday evening 4-7). We like it sautéed with black bean sauce or braised with a spicy tomato sauce.

    I love that you’re stretching your own kitchen boundaries in order to introduce your son to new foods — and love that he’s receptive! If he isn’t already learning to cook, this would be a good time to start.

    If you come to the Blaisdell Farmers Market, please stop by the GreenWheel Food Hub booth and say Hi. We’re there to help people use their EBT/SNAP (food stamps) at the market.

    • nematomorph says:

      Nan, I will have to try the smaller ones. those giant ones, well, they just make me nervous. We frequent the Ala Moana market on Saturdays. All the love with less crowds. If we ever get over to the Blaisdell I will pop by. Love that EBT/SNAP is accepted!

  3. lariyasui says:

    Yvette is an excellent cook, and I always thought of myself as not a good cook… just like you and your mom!

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