Eating raw almonds reminds me of when I was a child eating raw almonds

6 Mar

I never used to like nuts. My memory of eating nuts as a child is limited to the few times I would use the nutcracker to open an almond from a bowl that always sat out in our den and fish out the few pieces of nuts and eat them. I think my main purpose was to use the nutcracker. It wasn’t the soldier doll with the giant mouth but a silver pronged cracker that sat on the edge of the almond bowl.

A few months ago my mother brought a roasted, salted nut array over and I ended up devouring them. Which was weird because of my hatred of nuts. Solo, in dishes, in desserts and baked goods… you name it, I didn’t like it. Except pecan pie. I love pecan pie. But every other nut I could do without.

It just goes to show that if you eat anything long enough you will probably develop a taste for it. The same thing happened with beans when I was a vegetarian for 7 months and onions when I was friends with someone who really liked onions. Now I put onions in everything. I used to pick my onions out of a Philly Cheese steak from Mad Italian. When asked why I didn’t order it without the onions, my reasoning was I liked the flavor but not the consistency.

I recently bought an unroasted, unsalted bag of nuts from the farmer’s market, and apparently I like those too. And the almonds remind me of what childhood tasted like. When I was a child I used to “cook” which meant I boiled some pasta and opened a can of hot Rotel tomatoes and mixed them together — inedible. Sad thing was I know I tried that dish more than once with the same disappointing results. Since then I’ve been working on my repertoire and consider myself an above average cook. But recently the cooking muses have really befriended me. Dave and I have made several dishes in the last week that I’ve never made before. Maybe the muses decided to shine all their cooking glory on me since my pot roast triumph two weeks ago.

Last week: flank steak that was cooked perfectly pink on the inside and marinated with a delicious flavor. Dave almost ate the whole thing in one sitting.

Friday: we stayed up late making chicken pot pie (recipe from Cooking for Engineers), but only because it took a lot longer to make chicken pot pie than we had thought it would and we started after the baby went to bed kinda late. But I’m glad we did it because it was delicious. Not difficult to do, but time consuming. Perfect food for the chilly weekend we spent sitting in front of the fire.

Sunday: Okra stew (fast gumbo) that I tweaked heavily. When I asked Dave what he thought about my changes before I did them, the only thing he would tell me is, “If you’re not going to do what the recipe says, I don’t know if it will taste the same.” Luckily for both of us it was good. The guy who writes Cooking for Engineers is very cool. Everything we’ve ever made from his website has been worth it.

Monday: my parents came home from visiting my brother and his family in Miami, and my mom’s dog stayed with us over the weekend. Our house is on the way home from the airport and they stopped by just at dinnertime. I asked them earlier in the day if they wanted to have dinner with us, and proceeded to make my first lasagna. I did the most basic recipe I could find and it was pretty good. And strangely enough I had it heated up right on time too, which as everyone who came to Christmas dinner knows I’m not known for my timely meals. I’m looking forward to trying Pioneer Woman’s recipe. Her recipes look yummy and I like that she’s a famous housewife that lives on a ranch. If I had more time I would go through her website/blog.

I’m glad I’m slowly becoming more and more of a better cook. My mother is an inspirational and amazing chef, but she always makes up recipes as she goes so you can never ask her “how did you do that?” Actually, you can, and she’ll say “I don’t know” so it doesn’t help. Or she’ll tell you something and when you cook it it turns out nothing like what you wanted. I like playing with my recipes too, which of course doesn’t always work out for the young chef, but as I age I’m apparently getting better at it. And I like following new recipes. It’s like putting together a jigsaw puzzle that you get to eat when you’re done. I collect my recipes in a notebook I call “The Mixed Up Recipes from Kat’s Kitchen and Dave’s Diner” which always reminds me of a book I read when I was younger.

I don’t know what’s changed in my kitchen lately, but I like it. I hope the muses keep smiling down upon me and my wooden spoon.

The Muses. They look like they’ve just eaten a good meal, don’t they?

Now time for a glass of wine, bed, and continuing to worry about the incredible wind that keeps shaking the house.


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