Cooking has a huge impact in my family. My grandmother is known for her fried chicken, yams and banana pudding. My mother, who is the “chef in our family”, is known for her Gumbo, ox tails and Better than Sex Cake. My sister is also an amazing cook who makes the best Macaroni and Cheese, fried chicken, Butter Toffee cake and many more things. However, no one knew me as a “cook”. I wanted to learn how to cook and have always been fascinated with cooking. My mother started teaching me how to cook at the age of 10. As I got older cooking wasn’t what I needed to learn but what I wanted to learn. Before Covid and the quarantine, I was just cooking to eat. Now, I cook as a hobby.
I started cooking a little more as I got older. One of the reasons why I began cooking had to do with an odd reason behind it: Football. Yes. Football. You see, my dad and I watch 10 hours of football on Sunday and because of this, my mother is upstairs and she would always say that we need to go out to eat, but we didn’t want to. So I gave a compromise: Why don’t I begin cooking on Sundays? My mother was reluctant to allow this because I can be clumsy or over/under season my food. Due to this, she had her worries but I started simple. My go to meal is salmon with baked potato and vegetables. My mom and dad both liked it. Then I moved on to lamb and it was a hit with my parents. They loved my cooking, but even I was tired of the same old food. We decided to go and eat out or order. Then the lockdown hit the world.
During the lockdown, we couldn’t go and eat out. We took the lockdown seriously and didn’t even leave the house unless grocery shopping. The first week of lockdown was tough on me (and I am sure everyone else) mentally. I felt bored and wanted something to do with myself. I decided to find whatever I can do that was new, entertaining, and kills time. So I decided to look into more recipes. I started going on social media and looking into new ideas. Smothered Pork Chops, Coq Au Vin, Chicken Fricassee, etc. I tell you that within three months, I was cooking and making food that was so good, that my parents would not only ask for seconds but my mother would suggest making certain recipes again.
My biggest test into cooking was when my sister let me cook for her and her family. They are a little picky and cannot eat certain dishes, but she was so tired of the same old same food and being that her and her husband worked the entire time outside of the house during the pandemic, she would sometimes be exhausted. That is when she let her guard down and let me cook for her and her family (I babysit for my niece and nephew). I made a dish that my mother and father love and so do I: Tuscan Salmon. It is one of my favorite dishes and something that I learned to make. It was delicious. I made some adjustments to the recipe but other than that, they loved it.
Learning to cook during the quarantine brought me sanity. I honestly felt that cooking made me feel like I am needed. Cooking for my family and taking on this hobby meant a lot for me since cooking brought a form of peace and is art to me. Before the quarantine, I can tell you that cooking for me was boxed food. I don’t need to go out to dinner, rush what I cook, or just go to a “safety meal”. I can take my time and only get better with my cooking now.