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    Originally posted by BlackButler View Post
    Oh god I just realised it was total 'DAYS'
    Nothing wrong with being keen to cheer people on. I appreciate your support.


      I learnt to cook some things from my mum before I left home but mostly I had to learn as a student. I had a fantastic vegetarian student cookbook and I still make lots of the recipes or adaptations of them today. Lots of people I lived with survived on ready meals and takeaways and those were far too expensive to eat regularly. What made me really learn to cook well and enjoy it was living with friends just after uni. Two of them were really good cooks who enjoyed experimenting and taking time over making a meal and they taught me the importance of seasoning and flavour. Then when I got my own place I finally had a decent amount of space to store ingredients and leftovers and it's been great trying out new things and finding my own style of cooking since then.

      It baffles me when people say they can't cook because if you can follow instructions then there's no reason why you can't cook at least simple recipes. Shepherd's pie is one of the few things I absolutely will not eat but I can make an excellent one because it was one of the favourite meals of the guys I used to support at work. It's not difficult to learn to do well. I wish decent cooking classes were a requirement of education. We had lessons at school but we had limited time, the food tended not to be meals people would actually eat and those lessons stopped at age 14. Really they needed to be up to age 16-18 when people were more likely to need to cook or have opportunities to. Free or cheap classes available for young adults would be great too.

      I like your idea of rebellion being learning to cook good food, that's brilliant! I think I would want to do the same with the food and gender roles experiences you've had. How did you learn to cook well? Making spaghetti bolognese without mixing onion with everything sounds very difficult! Was using separate pans not an option? The whole men cooking only for special occasions or BBQs is something I'd like to see change for the sake of everyone. It's a shame your father didn't have more of a role in cooking, it sounds like meals would have been very different for you if he had. I don't remember my dad cooking much when I was a kid but he's had similar experiences of his mum not being a great cook and wanting to cook better/different things to her and is a decent cook now.


        Sunday, February 2 - Rainbow's Days of Fitness Day 72

        yoga flow: 43 minutes

        Total: 43 minutes

        Other stuff:

        14 km hiking
        10 minutes restorative yoga

        Only Homemade Food - - Total Days: 33/33
        A Salad a Day: Day 21 -

        Video Game-Free Days: 53

        Lights out: 9:57 PM -
        Up Monday: 6:00 AM -

        Reportedly, neither Wiarton Willie nor Oil Springs Ollie saw their shadow on Sunday morning. I sure saw mine on Sunday afternoon, hiking the Marsh Trail in Rondeau, however. The sun was behind me, setting over the bay, as I hiked the home stretch back to the car, casting a gorgeous red glow on the scene before me. It seems odd to be asking our rodent friends for a prediction of early spring when it feels as if winter hasn't yet arrived where I live.

        sun setting over Rondeau bay, showing an orange skyline dotted with wind turbines


          Wow... awesome picture!


            Wow, what a view!


              Thank you Nebulus NancyTree . That was a gorgeous hike--especially for February!


                Zastria I too learned from a mixture of cookbooks and friends/housemates. It sounds as if your cooking education in school was similar to ours. We had "home economics" in junior high (grades 6-8, age 10-13 or 11-14 depending on when one's birthday fell) but it was part of the same scheduling block as art and shop (woodworking & metal working). We had 2 x 80 minute classes per week that were art for half the year, shop for 1/4 and home ec (cooking and sewing) for 1/4 in grades 6 & 7. The sewing projects one year were to make a pot holder and a cushion. The "cooking" projects included chopping up fruit and mixing it together to make fruit salad, mixing cinnamon and sugar together and spreading it on toast, and cooking macaroni and cheese (from a box) mixed with boiled wieners. My group lost marks on our "sausage mac & cheese" project because we all agreed that mixing sausages with Kraft Dinner was disgusting, so we kept our sausages separate. (I'm not even kidding.) We lost marks on our fruit salad project too, even though we cut up every kind of fruit exactly the same way the teacher had shown us, because on the day when our group got to cook, our regular teacher was off sick, and the supply teacher thought we should have chopped the fruit up into smaller pieces. In grade eight everyone did art for half the year and either home ec or shop for the other half. I chose shop. Students were required to get their parents to sign off on their choice. I was prepared for a fight, given my parents' proclivity for gender roles, but they did not fight me on this one. They knew that "home economics" was a waste of time.

                I think deciding to learn how to cook versus deciding one cannot cook is largely a matter of attitude. If one is learning from a book, do you consider it to be a rule book or a guide book? Are you open to trying new flavours and new ideas or are your ideas about food already set in stone? Is a failed experiment a learning experience, or a demoralizing one?

                I find watching my mother trying to cook to be an excruciating experience. The religiosity with which she painstakingly adheres to every minutia of a recipe, checking and double-checking each line of instruction, each quantity of ingredient, is painful to watch. (If you've seen the movie The Hours, the scene in which Julianne Moore's character tries to bake a cake is my mother to a T.) I can only imagine that any activity one frets over as much as my mother frets over cooking is not something one finds enjoyable. My mother will also be completely turned off a recipe if it includes an ingredient or flavour combination she believes (often falsely) that she does not like. For example: My mother will proclaim loudly for anyone within earshot to hear that, "Canadians don't know how to make apple pie. They ruin it by putting cinnamon in it." I heard this lament from her for decades. Then, one year, my brother's family invited us to their house for Easter dinner, and my sister-in-law made apple pie for the dessert. It was the most heavily cinnamoned apple pie I have ever tasted. My mother ate a large slice, declared it was delicious, then asked for and ate seconds. To this day, my mother refuses to believe that pie had any cinnamon in it.

                For my part, I think I became a good cook through study and practice, informed by the fact that I'm not afraid to try new things. If I eat a meal I enjoy, I'm inspired to learn how to cook that dish myself. If I eat a meal that sounds from the ingredients list like it should be good but doesn't in fact taste all that great, I may be inspired to figure out a way to create a better version. When my friends serve me dishes that I like, I ask them for the recipes. I volunteer to sous-chef at dinner parties hosted by friends I know have culinary skills. I am also interested in general in how and why things work. This is a curiosity which has extended to my culinary experiments. Understanding the chemistry behind cooking enables me to figure out why each ingredient and process and order of processes is used in a recipe. This knowledge enabled me to grow beyond the paint-by-numbers approach of cooking as following instructions into the realm of cooking as a creative act.


                  Monday, February 3 - Rainbow's Days of Fitness Day 73

                  upper body skill & strength training: 20 minutes - Float: Lift Off

                  lower body skill & strength training: 14 minutes - Sweet Balance

                  running: 5K in 33:03 - in Rondeau

                  Total: 67 minutes

                  Other stuff:

                  10.5 km hiking
                  6 minutes restorative yoga

                  Only Homemade Food - - Total Days: 34/34
                  A Salad a Day: Day 22 -

                  Video Game-Free Days: 54

                  Lights out: 9:57 PM -
                  Up Tuesday: 6:00 AM -


                    I absolutely enjoyed the story of your mother's cooking "skills", because my mom can't cook either and I have some similar anecdotes

                    According to my father (who recently boiled potatoes for the first time in his life and used a srewdriver to check if they were done - no kidding), when he got married to my mom, the only thing she could cook was pasta with tomato sauce (from a package of red powder to be mixed with boiling water - I'm not sure if they even produce that stuff anymore) and sausage (from a can). Her later, more "advanced" cooking "skills" included mashed potatoes (from a package of potato powder) with creamed spinach (from frozen) and boiled eggs, as well as boiled eggs in mustard sauce (from a package of powder to make a white sauce, to which she added mustard). One of my favorite dishes as a kid was her famous pasta, fried in margarine and then coated in breadcrumbs, to be eaten with ketchup, no veggies or protein added. My brother loved her ravioli bolognese (from a can), topped with cheese and heated in the microwave. Today, she "cooks" using a super expensive device called "Thermomix" that can stir / puree and heat your food at the same time. Genius.

                    I learned to cook after I moved away from home. I started out using recipe books, but one of my ex-boyfriends (all men I've ever dated, and the one I'm married to now, were better cooks than me) showed me how to really cook from scratch and be creative in the kitchen. Now my cooking style is very similar to what you described as your style.


                      Wow I feel like I did very well to have a mum who can cook! And who isn't unreasonably prejudiced against cinnamon, which is the best spice.

                      Our cooking lessons at school were called "food technology" and we once spent an entire term learning how to make sandwiches. Not even decent sandwiches. Shop-bought bread with ham in, that kind of thing. We weren't even allowed to actually make the sandwiches until the end of term. It was a relief when that teacher left and we got an actually decent teacher. We made some good stuff like pasta sauce and bread but I don't remember a lot of it. Fruit salad was one of the things but the size of the fruit chopping was entirely our choice.

                      Attitude is everything in cooking. My approach is to follow a recipe the first time I make it, with maybe minor changes, then try out different things over time based on what's in the fridge, what's seasonal and what I think will go well in a dish. One of the guys at work wanted me to tell him how to make the perfect fajitas and the exact amounts of spices to use and didn't appreciate my explanation that I never cook them the same way twice and what spices I use and how much depends on my mood and I don't measure anything out. Finding out how to cook the things you enjoy elsewhere is a good approach to have because then you get to make it exactly to your own tastes.


                        sleep_twitch all that cooking from powder sounds positively frightful. On the other hand, if we ever have to live through a zombie apocalypse, or a mass exodus to Mars, your mother will be all set.

                        Zastria our in-school cooking classes were obviously trying hard to earn their reputation for being useless, "basket-weaving" subjects. I guess having you sit at a desk watching your teacher sandwich various items between slices of store-bought bread at least kept you all off the streets for a few months.

                        I think we all deserve props for realizing that cooking could be something more than what we were shown in our youth and taking it upon ourselves to learn how to do it properly.


                          Tuesday, February 4 - Rainbow's Days of Fitness Day 74

                          alt cardio: 26 minutes - Cardio Blast: days 1-5

                          upper body skill & strength training: 17 minutes - Crow As You Go - slipping and sliding around because I was slick with sweat from doing Cardio Blast immediately before

                          lower body skill & strength training: 17 minutes - Link & Connect

                          Total: 60 minutes

                          Other stuff:

                          3 km hiking

                          Only Homemade Food - - Total Days: 35/35
                          A Salad a Day: Day 23 -

                          Video Game-Free Days: 55

                          Lights out: 11:24 PM
                          Up Wednesday: 7:38 AM

                          My schedule went a bit off the rails this day. Did not get any of my workout done in the morning since it was supposed to be my Power Cardio day, and I have a hard time forcing myself to do indoor cardio. So I procrastinated. Took the dogs out for their walks late afternoon and realized running was not going to happen as there was a bitterly cold wind blowing. This meant I would have to do even more indoor cardio. So I procrastinated some more. Did not get started on any of my workout until after dinner (and then, of course, had to wait even longer for my dinner to settle). Finally, I did some Cardio Blast in lieu of my run. Did days 1-4 all back-to-back with no breaks. Worked up a good sweat. And a good thirst. So I had a big drink of water. Then I attempted to do a yoga class focussed on one-legged crow and additional core work. So much fun with a belly full of water and arms and legs covered in sweat. By the time I finished Crow As You Go, it was late, and I just could not make myself face Power Cardio. So I did Wednesday's scheduled lower body workout instead (standing balances). Then I did another day of Cardio Blast to push my total workout time for the day up to my 60 minutes minimum.


                            Wednesday, February 5 - Rainbow's Days of Fitness Day 75

                            running: 5K in 36:58 - Was a bit tired this morning, I suspect due to Tuesday's late night and late night workout, but I discovered I own a pair of skin-tight thermal long underwear that I can wear underneath my skin-tight winter-weight running tights without the under layer bunching up. So I layered up with these, plus a thermal long-sleeved running shirt, fleece sweatshirt, and my warmest running jacket, and headed out to Rondeau where the trees shelter me somewhat from the wind. I enjoyed quite a pleasant run. Bonus: My winter-weight running tights have a tendency to ride low. They're not actually loose enough to fall off, but they do slide down low on my hips and create a fabric webbing between my legs that I frequently have to pull the pants back up to get rid of. (Why, why, why did clothing manufacturers ever think it was a good idea to do away with drawstring waists in running tights?) Anyhow... I discovered that the long underwear provides enough friction against the running tights to keep the tights in place. I did not have to hitch them up during my run once. Yeah!

                            upper body skill & strength training: 17 minutes - Hang Time - L-sit training

                            lower body skill & strength training: 6 minutes - Power Cardio: Day 5

                            Total: 60 minutes

                            Other stuff:

                            10 km hiking - short nature hike in Rondeau + puppy walks + fetching groceries

                            Only Homemade Food - - Total Days: 36/36
                            A Salad a Day: Day 24 -

                            Video Game-Free Days: 56

                            Lights out: 11:25 PM - was in bed for 11:00 but then stayed up to read
                            Up Thursday: 7:58 AM


                              Where is the Hang Time....workout? Is it on some other site? I am working on an L-sit goal, also, so this caught my attention.


                                DorothyMH Hang Time is part of the Float series of video classes I purchased from Cody App back when Cody was still Cody and sold lifetime access to its classes and plans for sale on an a la carte basis. Since then, Cody was sold to Alo Yoga and became a monthly subscription service. I believe you can still view the Crow Taps class in the Float series as a free preview of the series. (I don't see the free preview link for this series since I purchased lifetime access to the whole plan, but I think you'll see one if you visit the plan page I've linked above. Alternatively, you can find the free preview class on YouTube here: ) The Hang Time class is behind Alo's paywall, so you can only access it with a subscription. (I believe you can get a free trial of the subscription service, but I'm not familiar with the details of that as I've never purchased the subscription myself.)