Growing up, I was the dessert maker. I never learned to do much else cooking-wise, but I made great cakes. We cannot live on cake alone, so I had to learn to cook “real” food when I married.
As a military wife, I learned 500 ways to cook ground beef. You soon deduce you are a bad cook when they would rather eat in the mess hall. One dish I managed to perfect was “sh**-on-a-shingle.” This mess hall specialty consisted of creamed beef on a piece of toast.
As he made rank and we had more money, I learned how to cook dishes from many different cuisines. Hubby developed a taste for SW cooking after being stationed in CA. Because Mom had learned how to make several Tex-Mex dishes while living in Texas, and a friend, Gloria, was Mexican American, I learned how to cook Mexican style. When Gloria’s mom visited she showed me how to make tortillas from scratch. Yes, there was a time when you could not buy tortillas in grocery stores, and there was no cafe on every corner serving Mexican food.
After the hubby and I split, I was very poor, so I branched out and learned how to make vegetarian dishes (these were my early college years and it was the 1960s). I also learned how to macreme and tie-die. I bought the book Diet for a Small Planet and fed my kids yogurt-barley soup which they remember to this day.
Hubby #2 was German, so I learned how to make dishes with Bratwurst. I found a slow-cooker dish that involved brats, sauerkraut and apples. Because I was working on a grad degree and gone a lot, I made it often. Mostly we ate out in fine restaurants. After three years, we split, both of us a bit heavier.
I then lived with a fellow who liked the Korean food his wife had made. He obtained a recipe for one dish from her, but whatever we made tasted like crap. He went back to his wife and I moved on.
After I got a decent job that paid a living wage, I ate out even more: lunch with work colleagues; meals out on dates; potlucks at church. However, I learned how to make Greek food I served guests who commented on my liberal use of butter in dishes like Spanakopita (spinach pie).
When I met David he cooked for me. However, later I learned he could only make one dish so we began eating out almost every night. No, I am not kidding, we ate out almost every noon and night. We both worked downtown, so we ate lunch together, hitting every fine restaurant in DC. I gained much weight and he grew thinner.
The past four years, I’ve been in Weight Watchers. I took off 40 pounds and have been “maintaining” my new weight for about 2 years. When I saw my doctor this week he said I need to lose 20 more pounds. Yesterday, I visited Trader Joe’s, and I stocked up on veggies and fruits. He says I can have animal crackers Saturday night! (Today, we’re having corned beef and cabbage for lunch.)