Like Many Twenty-Somethings, Cooking Has Become a Hobby of Mine.

Growing up, I was not truly allowed to cook.  My mother and father were from a past generation (my father was born in 1929 and my mother was born in 1936).  In my household, my father and I were not to even approach the stove; And with good reason: we were men, and that meant we were outside doing manly things like killing bears with our bare hands, biting the heads off deer and fabricating turrets that shot fireballs at our neighboring enemies instead of the dainty chores like cooking and weaving baskets.  Sure, we men knew how to char a hunk of meat over an open fire, but the question always remained:  “How do we combine this meat with the objects our food eats, like vegetables and herbs?” 

When I moved to college at KU in 2001, I was left with my knowledge of how to take the life of an animal (either with my bare hands, a katana or a rocket launcher), but without the knowledge of how to properly prepare the newly deceased animal carcass for human consumption.  Like many in my generation, I believe that television can actually be used to learn something assuming the correct channel is selected (this means a channel other than MTV or the Lifetime Network).  When not doing homework, going to class, working, or guzzling vast amounts of fermented grains, I watched the Food Network.
On this channel, I learned two things.  The first concept blew me away.  I learned that it is OK for men to cook.  There do exist many men who (apparently when they’re not wrestling wild animals and skinning baby seals with their teeth), go into the kitchen and prepare meals.  The second concept also intrigued me: cooking is edible science. 

I always enjoyed science, because I was taught that “manly” things come from it:  cars, explosions, new mood altering substances and rockets.  Now I also knew that food can come from science.  So I took to food as a young child takes to a kitten.  Only, I cooked the kitten with a mixture of teriyaki sauce and stir-fry vegetables.   It was delicious! 

From that point on, cooking was a way of life for me.  I would venture into the vast, dark heart of the nearest grocery market, find a pre-dispatched animal (I also learned that one does not need to always kill their own food, as other people do that for a living.), heave it into my grocery basket, and drag it home to my cave.  I was delighted to find that those good people who rendered the creature lifeless had gone to the trouble of cleaning it as well!  I would then prepare the animal with the gusto of the chefs on the food network and serve it to an attractive female in hopes that she would be so delighted with my hunting and cooking skills that she might find in me a man capable of providing for a family and respond in a positive manner to my mating rituals.

Since those days, my cooking skill has vastly improved.  Few people in the world exist with the same experience in learning to cook as I.  I am now able to invent new dishes, and am “the cook” in my household.  I have gone from someone who could burn water to someone who is more than capable of inserting a quail into a chicken, the chicken into a duck, the duck into a turkey, the turkey into a pig, the pig into a cow and then injecting the whole of the meal with melted, pasteurized cheese product and deep frying the combination of animals in a giant vat of boiling vegetable oil. 

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Filed under General, Personal Experience

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