I don't keep a lot of "convenience food" in my house for a number of reasons. One, it isn't healthy. Two, it disappears the minute I bring it into the house. What I intended for a quick dinner instead becomes a quick snack and I'm left scrambling for dinner. Three, it's expensive. When our two house guests arrived, they were trying to find "food." There was plenty of food in my cupboards, pantry, freezer and refrigerator but it was what one would call "ingredients", not "food." And they had no idea what to do with it. They watched in amazement and curiosity as my sons took eggs and made omelets or scrambled them and created egg sandwiches. They were bewildered when they created chicken quesadillas or fired up the grill with seemingly little thought or stress, and dare I say, even enjoyment?
We put the cookbook to use to test it with these teenagers. One was pretty resistant and tried to avoid the entire experiment. The other has embraced it and quickly moved from warming up frozen burritos to mastering spaghetti and meat sauce, chili and most recently, Salisbury steak. I can tell he is proud of himself and is excited to have something to show the girlfriend. He recently moved out on his own but before he left, he was much more comfortable in the kitchen. We sent him on his way with a copy of the cookbook. When we spoke in November, he was in the process of cooking his first turkey! From microwaving frozen "food" to roasting a turkey in four short months. That is the power of this cookbook - growing skill and confidence!
Our visitors had a big impact on our sons and sparked an appreciation in them they didn't know they should have. They took their skill and comfort for granted and it was good for them to see how far they have come. This contrast increased their confidence and self-esteem even further, which is the very purpose of the cookbook in the first place.
The other amazing thing that happened this past summer was that my husband took over nearly all the cooking. He did enlist the help of the boys as well, but for the most part, he was chief chef. He teaches school and has the summer mostly free and I had started a new job and was spending more hours at work than I had in the past. He has used the cookbook in the past year and has learned to make everything in it and is now as comfortable in the kitchen as I am. I now find recipes from Allrecipes.com laying on the cupboard because he got a hankering for something and wanted to give it a try. This cookbook is a launching point. It is not intended to be the only cookbook you will ever need but the one that launches your kids (and spouse) into confident cooking. We love every recipe in the cookbook and go back to them again and again and again and no one seems to get tired of them. They are our standby's that we keep ingredients on hand for. But in addition to that, they have taught our sons and my husband all they need to know to cook whatever they are hungry for and would like to try.
I hope you find the cookbook as helpful to your family as I have in mine. In future posts, I will talk more about the paradigm shift a household has to go through to truly benefit. That is a key part and not always easy but so worth it.