Kitchen Wars: Me vs. Kitchen

As it is frequent in our household, plans change all the time. I have carefully planned meals for this week, but as per usual, chef is no where to be found, so I was left alone in the kitchen and pondering my dinner choices.Last night was easy, I had a dinner date with a fellow Croatian and we had a lovely meal at a Cuban restaurant near her house. But tonight was a different story…I was left alone in the kitchen with so many ingredients, menu and the usual, and fear of it all. I hate to see all the beauties we got go to waste, but I didn’t have the slightest idea what to do with it. Sure, I could have looked at the recipe and tried to follow directions (I am good at – start with A, add B, followed by C), but the problem is I don’t speak the “language”…simmer, pinch, broil, bring to heat, lightly…Sure, I speak enough of English (though the Chef may not agree all the time – he is currently writing a book of “Jelenisms”, but about that some other time) that I know the true meaning of each word. But when I apply it to cooking, let’s just say, the food just doesn’t taste like it had a pinch of salt or was simmered enough. If I see a recipe that has more than a paragraph of instructions, I completely loose any interest to even continue reading, let alone follow the instructions, and it all goes down the hill from there. The fear takes over, and the pinch of salt becomes a spoon of salt, and lightly coated in oil, becomes soaked in oil….So in honor of my, Lululemon lunch bag that says “Do one thing that scares you”, I did exactly that….I entered the kitchen, exuberating confidence and pretended like I knew exactly what I was doing. It was no longer a place that intimidated me, it was a place of calm and creation. Or so I kept telling myself. I am convinced that my kitchen and appliances can smell my fear and try to intimidate me, but I wasn’t giving in tonight. I slowly approached the refrigerator and took out kale, burrata, tomato, basil leaves, Parmesan cheese and than the starring contest began. Who will blink first? All of a sudden, I remembered my own mantra…”Do one thing that scares you” and I was on my way to win this battle. Far away from winning a war, but one battle at a time. So with no fear and a lot of confidence, I made a big mess in the kitchen but created delicious sides. Yes, you are reading it correctly, two side dishes – kale chips and mozarella/tomato and basil leaves. But since I still have fear of meat, this ended up being a very filling vegetarian dinner. Some may not call this cooking, but it was my definition of “cooking” and most importantly, it got me in a kitchen.

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