I got married when I was almost 19. (For those doing math at home, yes, I was 18. EIGHTEEN! Husband was 20. Were we crazy or what?) Husband grew up knowing how to do all his own laundry by the time he was in 5th grade. I did not. Husband (who was still Boyfriend at the time) taught me how to do laundry at the laundromat my freshman year. On more than one occasion, he came over to my dorm and ironed pants for me. And he has always been a better cleaner than me.
So it won’t surprise you that Husband did most of the cooking early on in our marriage. I called him The Chef – he could always take whatever we had on hand and turn it into something fabulous. And he’s never been afraid to try something challenging. He is still the go-to for roasting a whole bird (cooking chicken has always freaked me out), and his Osso Bucco is fantastic.
But a few years ago, something switched. Kids, his job changing a little bit, or the change in the way we eat when I went gluten free – I’m not sure what it was – but I am now Head Chef. Husband still enjoys cooking, and Sunday night dinners tend to be his time to shine, but for the day-to-day meals, I’m your gal. And I LOVE it. I love cooking now. I love the sound and feel and even the smell of chopping onions on the cutting board. I love experimenting with different oils to make the flavors just right (rice bran oil was the latest) . I love trying variations of recipes to find the best. I will often make all three meals in a day from scratch. And I’m not even afraid to cook chicken anymore!
There is something so satisfying about starting with ingredients I selected myself at the store or farmers market, prepping them and combining them in just the right way to make something delicious to feed family and friends. Cooking is now one of my favorite things to do, but if you had told me that 10 years ago – or even 5 – I would have laughed. (Did I mention I really hated cooking?)
I think the biggest thing that has changed is my confidence. Whereas in the past, I would eat something at a restaurant or see something in a cookbook and feel completely intimidated, I now think about how I could make it at home, how I could recreate it, how I could make it work for our family. It’s a puzzle, a project, a work of creativity all in one.
So this week, when the kids talked about how we used to have cinnamon rolls (the Pillsbury kind you buy in cans), I went in search of a recipe to make them from scratch. ME! Someone who would NEVER call herself a baker, someone who would always second guess every step in every recipe for years. And I did it!
I think it comes down to practice. To trying and failing and trying again and knowing it’s going to be okay. To having lots of experiences with the raw materials (here, almond flour and pecans and coconut oil and honey) to sort of know what’s going to happen. And to know that even if it doesn’t happen that way, it’s not the end of the world. I learn something even when it doesn’t work.
And maybe it also comes down to age. I am turning 37 this month, and I think as I get older, I realize more that things that look “impossible” or “amazing” from the outside are often the result of lots of practice and trial and error. I realize more that most things in life are “figureoutable” – there are ways to make it work.
Husband did this over the weekend, too. For a couple of months, our washing machine has sounded like a goat. I am not even kidding. Multiple times during every load, the washer would emit an extremely loud grinding noise with an uncanny resemblance to bleating. I even googled “My washer sounds like a goat” once. Nothing. But then Husband decided to get to the bottom of it. He watched some YouTube videos until he found the exact sound (this one if you’re curious) and read up on how to fix it (basically tightening up a screw on a pulley underneath the washer). Within ten minutes, our washing machine was running with nary a goat sound to be heard. He figured it out!
Granted, there are lots of things that we won’t be able to do. Open-heart surgery comes to mind. Most automobile repairs. Root canals. But a lot of times, if it’s something that SOMEONE has figured out how to do, we might be able to figure it out, too.
Which is why if you can buy a cinnamon roll, then you can probably make a cinnamon roll. And the process of making it will probably be a whole lot of fun, too.
These cinnamon rolls were awesome, if I do say so myself. The recipe is from The Urban Poser. I topped ours with a frosting loosely based on this Creamy Cream Cheese Frosting from Elena’s Pantry. (I tweaked it to make it a little softer by adding lots more whipping cream than called for. Another trial-and-error that I was PRETTY sure would work out, and it did.)
Tell me: What’s something you figured out how to do recently? Or what’s something you can do now that the younger you would never have believed you could do? I’d love to hear.