As a little kid, my favorite thing to do was to go to the grocery store with my mom. I know, I know, that sounds like I a) had a really disappointing childhood or b) didn’t get out much as a kid, but hear me out: I loved grocery shopping. I loved the order behind it all: the way my mom made a huge list of all the food we needed for the week, how all the food was neatly arranged on shelves, how the same six smooth jazz songs played breezily over the PA system. The free cookie I always received from the bakery section didn’t hurt either.
It’s no surprise that my love of grocery shopping translated into my college years too (or maybe I still don’t get out much as an adult, whatever). Except, I had to live with the aftermath of the grocery shopping: the cooking.
When I was little, my mom and I would come home from the store, I would take a two hour nap, and by the time I woke up, the groceries would be put away and dinner would be miraculously on the table. Now that I’m living on my own, life isn’t so glamorous. Now I’ve got to actually cook for myself and *gulp* plan meals.
I’ll never forget the first time I epically failed at cooking. It was the first weekend back on campus after the summer and my roommates and I wanted to celebrate by having a big pancake breakfast. We didn’t want to use the standard Bisquick method of making pancakes, however; no, we were mighty adults now and such a method was a resort for plebeians and mere mortals. So we decided to make our own pancakes from scratch. And wouldn’t you know, I did the ol’ switching of the baking powder and baking soda faux pas. Not only were the pancakes extremely salty and totally inedible, but they were shaped in such a way that they resembled a biology experiment opposed to a tasty breakfast item. So it goes.
I didn’t really have a cooking success until the fateful day my roommate decided to make shrimp for dinner. Scouring the internet for recipes, we finally came across one for bang bang shrimp. It seemed easy enough, and we had all the ingredients in our pantry. So, we decided to take a risk and make the recipe, praying our kitchen wouldn’t catch fire and everyone would survive the process. After following the instructions carefully and making sure we added every ingredient, we concocted something that surprised all of us: a delicious meal. The shrimps were cooked perfectly, the sauce was just the right amount of heat, and we didn’t even mess up the side dishes. We ended the day feeling accomplished and full.
My advice to fellow newbie cookers is to keep practicing, read the recipe carefully, and, you know, make sure you understand that baking soda and baking powder are two separate things. Other than that, don’t be afraid to try new things and experiment. The only way you can get better is by practicing. Happy cooking, everyone!