On cooking, cookbooks, the internet and food memories from my youth

I will never be the same cook as my mother. This is partially true because she likes to eat different things than I do, and partially because she had to satisfy different tastes than I do when I'm cooking. But it's also because the availability of food in grocery stores has changed, I own different kitchen appliances/tools, recipes are more available online than they were in the pre-internet days, and well because my relationship with food is a different one than hers is/was.

And this isn't a bad thing: I live in the core of a large city with many food options available to me, I work at a supermarket and have many farmer's markets at easy distance to my home (on foot even) [I ought to visit them more frequently too but as I live alone sometimes it's hard to remember to use up all the fresh/perishable ingredients I have on hand anyway], restaurant options abound in this city within walking/transit distance, and I can actually find many more obscure ingredients with relative ease (and have had redditgifts people gift me others from afar). I can be lazy and still make healthy simple meals; I can choose to eat out when time is at a premium and find delicious options with ease.

But when it comes to the task of actually cooking, I do things differently than one might imagine at times. Most of the time I don't use a recipe, instead using recommendations/recipes as a guideline if I'm less familiar with a dish, knowing how to throw simple ingredients together for an experimental soup or stirfry or crockpot creation. I have been endeavoring to slowly read Cooking for Geeks cover-to-cover because the articles in this cookbook are amazingly educational. I have a ton of cookbooks which I rarely use (though when I do, the results are hit or miss, depending in part on my success in replicating the item in question and my actual liking of the ingredient combinations… darn being a supertaster sometimes!). I don't seek out cookbooks though the LooneySpoons one, the Cooking for Geeks one, the Joy of Cooking, the Klutz, and the Jean Pare ones are all useful to have around for various reasons (yes I have others, but they get even less use). The internet is a HUGE help when I'm trying to come up with ideas of how to use certain ingredients that I've picked up (or have remaining from another dish or purpose) and even if I'm not cooking, I'm quite capable of throwing together snacks in the form of fresh fruits and veggies.

Lately I've started actually asking my mother more often what ingredients she put in various of my more favourite dishes from my youth. And it turns out they were often really simple dishes to make (perhaps some of the ingredients were a bit more difficult to come by then, and perhaps I've learned to make substitutions or to try to keep some of items that I like on hand if non-perishable). So while I might not have the same tools at my disposal as my mother did when I was a kid, I'm apparently perfectly capable of finding ways of approximating certain aspects of my favourite dishes.

Now if only I could get her to make/teach me the secrets of the lasagna that I loved so very much when I was a kid. I don't think she's made the variety that I've had such fond memories of having as a kid since I was a young teen and I really wish I knew exactly everything she put into it such that I could make it my own someday.

In other words, I'm thankful for all that my mom's taught me regarding food.