My dear sons,
If your dad and I have been successful in raising you the way we believe is best, you will agree with the title of this post as you are reading this in 2030. We want you to grow into truly independent men. Cooking is an important aspect of achieving this, which is why I’m covering the subject in this blog. (By the way, if either one of you believes cooking is “women’s work,” I imagine I’m one upset momma!)
I’ll be honest, and I hope this surprises you, but when I was young and single, I didn’t know how to cook. I think I knew how to do some very basic things with food, but my idea of cooking was throwing a Lean Cuisine in the microwave.
Growing up, your aunt (my older sister) was always the one helping my mom in the kitchen, and I was usually shoo’d away if I tried to come in and help. I mean, three’s a crowd, particularly in a kitchen! So, I didn’t really learn to cook until I had you two. Your dad was the cook before that, and as you know, he’s an excellent cook. I still remember being amazed by his cooking when he cooked for me when we first started dating. It definitely made him even more attractive to me.
Well, since your dad and I are raising you to know your way around the kitchen, we not only expect you to be able to take care of yourselves. We also expect you to truly appreciate it when someone else takes care of you. And Prince 1, with your food allergies, it is just a requirement for you to know how to cook. Therefore, cooking together as a family is a priority for us, and we all have fun together prepping and cooking meals in the kitchen. In fact, even as young as you two are now (in 2014), we let you carry your chairs into the kitchen so you can watch and/or “help.” I hope you have great memories of this as you read this.
Well, for this post, I want to talk to you about the basics. I’m going to spell it all out, even though you probably already know a lot of this. Just in case you don’t, here it is:
1. Buy a large skillet, a few sauce pans of varying sizes, cooking utensils, cutting boards, knives, and measuring cups and spoons.
2. Get a spice rack and fill it up.
3. Practice chopping an onion – often.
4. Spend a week making the basic recipes I post on this site, which I intend to be ones you are familiar with, including my marinara sauce. You can find it below.
5. Pick five of your favorite ones to make and settle on being comfortable with them, and then once you are comfortable with those (and possibly even bored with them), once a week, venture out and try a new one. Your recipes will expand, and you will soon have many you can turn to in order to enjoy and impress. I’m telling you, this will make you very attractive to people. Everyone wants to hang out with a good cook.
Well, here is my Marinara Sauce Recipe. I got it from your aunt and have modified it over time. As you know, it is sooo yummy! In fact, you two gobbled it up tonight and asked for seconds!
1/2 Cup EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil)
1 large onion (or 2 small), chopped
2 cloves of garlic, minced
2 celery stalks, chopped
3 carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp salt (or more to taste)
1/2 tsp pepper
2 (28oz – the large-sized) cans crushed tomatoes
2 dried bay leaves
Dash of red pepper flakes (to taste)
1 tsp Italian seasoning, or more to taste
1 tsp (or more to taste) sugar (optional)
1/4 Cup grated parmesan cheese
Use a large pot, and heat the EVOO on a medium-high flame. Add the chopped onions and garlic and sauté for about 10 minutes. Then, add the salt, pepper, celery, and carrots and sauté for 10 more minutes. Then, add the tomatoes and bay leaves and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally. (Because you two can be picky right now, I use the blender after this to blend it all together after discarding the bay leaves, but it is not necessary). Discard the bay leaves, and add the seasoning, spices, and parmesan cheese to taste. Enjoy!
This sauce freezes very well and makes a lot! So, use what you plan to use and freeze the rest. You will be glad you did.
I hope you enjoy the process of becoming a confident cook. It can be quite fun, especially if you like to eat.
P.S. Prince 1, as an important reminder, be sure you are reading ALL labels thoroughly to be sure that your allergens are not present.
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