Kiss the Cook

Apparently hell has frozen over. I've decided I like cooking.

Yesterday I woke up in the morning and moseyed (mosied?) my way over to the kitchen, where I pulled out the latest issues of COOKING LIGHT. You might want to know why they were handy, and I'm going to go ahead and out myself and let you know that I subscribed. Yup, commitment. I leafed through and decided that I would take on the Dijon Pork Tenderloin w/a cranberry sauce. Oh yes, it's true. I was ready to put Rachel Ray in my back pocket.

So anyway, I read the recipe twice to be sure I understood the Order of Operations (for you elementary school math geeks). Then I checked which ingredients I had. I was missing just two. Tarragon and cranberry sauce. Now, the Lilly of a few months ago would have decided that all green spices are the same, and used rosemary or some other Simon and Garfunkely flavoring (damn them for the inadvertant accompaniment I get every time I spin my spice rack). And don't think I didn't entertain using what was left of my sugar free strawberry jam as a sauce instead.

But no, this time was different. I am ready to cook by the rules. I know. I felt possessed!

Last night I got home from the bar and what did I do? Did I head to the bathroom to pray to a porcelein God? Nope. Did I go straight for the chips in the pantry? Well, kinda. But I also had the wherewithal to MARINATE my meat to be cooked today. I kid you not. 3 a.m. found me fully dressed in club gear, shaking a tupperware container with my little concoction.

Today my inner domestic goddess and I got up and went to the store and picked up what I needed. Tarragon, the sauce, and much more (worry not, dear reader, for they corrolate to recipes for later in the week). I came home and made what my sister called my little Thanksgiving feast (ok, I had sweet potato on the side). I did everything as instructed and -- it came out really good! I put it on a pretty plate because I was dining with Lorelai and Rory and the rest of Stars Hollow. It had the makings of a perfect night minus the makeout session, but THINK! -- if I get better at this whole domestic gig, chances only increase actually get one of those too!

I can't get over the fact that I actually ate the whole dinner. What if I outgrow this "I'm the anti-domestic goddess" act that fits me like the perfect pair of jeans? What if, instead of scrolling past the Food Network listing on my tv, I stop? What if I WATCH it? What if I become one of Them? One of those people who knows how food magically arrives on a plate? Then what will I have? Apparently six servings of leftovers. Anyone hungry?

So as I was washing my dishes (I'm the cleanest chef west of the Mississippi, by the way) I had this epiphany -- it was this: every ingredient matters. You can't take shortcuts in the kitchen and expect things to come out as perfect as if you went through all the agony of circling the grocery store six thousand times scared to ask for canned anything because you're at an organic store. No short cuts. So it is in life. Every Ingredient Matters. And then I started to worry that I'm finding my life philosophies in the kitchen. "Every little ingredient matters." "Coffee or death." "Expiration dates are for wussies" and so on.

I'm hoping to cease the cheesy life lessons, but I'm going full-force with this cooking thing. I'm not sure where this adventure is taking me, but I highly encourage my friends and acquaintances to get very busy very soon because I'm looking for tasters, you see...