“I Can Make That!”

Growing up, I had no interest in cooking nor was I any good (probably not surprising given the first half of the sentence). I was not comfortable cracking an egg until age 23 and scrambled eggs were as gourmet as it got for me. I survived off of pasta, over-cooked baked chicken, and scrambled eggs. Too often, I had to fight through a sink full of other people’s dirty dishes and more dishes afterward in order to earn this sub-par reward. Safe to say, I figured cooking wasn’t for me.

Then, in mid-2016 I moved in with my girlfriend. For the first time in a while, I had a clean kitchen, where I didn’t have to worry about leftover dishes in the sink or pans left overnight on the stove. I began to practice my skills. My interests were twofold:

  1. HEALTH: Baked chicken or turkey with vegetables will get you a lot closer to any health goal than just about anything else.
  2. MONEY: To spend $10 on a sandwich, chips and a drink for lunch or to spend $10 on a week’s worth of groceries? Not the most difficult choice to make. $40 a week =  ~$2000 per year in my pocket.

In January 2017, a switch was flipped and cooking suddenly became an entertaining and welcomed challenged. Inspired by Netflix shows like Chef’s Table and Cooked, and with the help of a few overpriced, poorly cooked restaurant brunches, I began turning to my girlfriend a couple times a week and saying “I can make that.” Most times, this was met with a “why not, let’s try it!” and sometimes it’s met with a “Stop it. No, we definitely can’t.” (Don’t try to make croissants at home unless you are very patient and enjoy infinite failure.)

I do not profess to know-it-all, nor would I call myself a great cook, but I do enjoy it, and at the end of the day that’s what’s important. A simple recipe for happiness: Spend your time doing what you enjoy.

I’m an engineer, and what’s attracted me to cooking is that I enjoy making things. Creation is the essence of cooking. Every time I cook, I am conducting a short experiment with immediate, tangible results. It doesn’t matter whether I am attempting something completely new or recreating a past success. Success is far from guaranteed, but small tweaks can make a huge difference (roasting coffee beans for 10 minutes = amazing, fresh coffee but roasting for 15 minutes = setting off the fire alarm).

Cooking also allows me to give to others. Learning a new, interesting recipe and being able to share it is always a treat. Not only do you get to impress friends and family with what you made, you always get to bring people together. Hosting meals is a great way to show people that you care – whether it is my mom’s delicious nightly family dinners to my attempts at entrées. The thought process behind both is the same, even if the results vary.

Furthermore, cooking forces me to fail and pushes me out of my comfort zone. Rarely do I get a recipe right the first time. (Failure is too frequently accompanied by irrational frustration that the salmon is slightly overcooked.) It’s an exercise in patience, and I’m getting better. Thankfully, after a few minutes, I stop seeing red, apologize to anyone who was around and write down how I’ll adjust the recipe next time. The sweet spot for me is 4 tries — 4 times to get to “That’s it! I got it.” 4 times to practice embracing “failure” before basking in the glory of a delicious creation. (Though to be sure, the product of every attempt was edible and enjoyable.)

I strive to create a site that empowers your creative side while helping your bottom line and bringing you closer to your community. I hope that you enjoy what you read and by the end of every post, you’re thinking, “I can make that!”