Saturday, February 20, 2010
We Eat Like Kings
When I first married my husband, I was a terrible cook. I will freely admit this. My mother wasn't a good cook, although she tried to teach me what she could. I did take home economics in high school, and knew a few things, but basically, my cooking was bad. I remember when we first got married, I tried to make potato soup. I boiled some potatoes and celery, and added salt. That was my soup. Needless to say, my husband wasn't impressed. My husband loves to eat, so throughout his life he has learned to cook so that he could eat what he likes. Because he has such high standards for food, I have had to learn how to cook.
When we lived in China, I especially had to learn cooking skills because the stores didn't carry prepared foods. It was probably in my second year there that I finally found a store that carried things like cream of mushroom soup; a staple in my cooking in America. So in the meantime, I learned to make my own to use in cooking. I also learned to make my own flour tortillas. Necessity is the mother of invention, and cooking in China gave me plenty of practice at inventing. Surprisingly, I didn't learn to cook Chinese food there. Even today I don't consider myself a very good chinese food cook though. My husband takes the prize for that ability in our house. He also makes wonderful Indian food, and has made some great French food as well. But I can hold my own. I would really like to become a better chinese cook because chinese cooking is very inexpensive. I had a babysitter in China that would sometimes cook food at our house. She could make something out of nothing. I'm not kidding. One of my favorite foods she made was a simple tomato and bell pepper soup with some homemade "pinch noodles" in it. Because she was such a great chinese cook, she could make anything taste good!
My kids often make jokes about this, but a common saying at our dinner table (mostly by me I think), is "We eat like kings!". In all seriousness, there are nights (usually when my husband cooks), when I think to myself that royalty doesn't get any better tasting food than ours. I don't say that to sound braggy, because I know that many of you can say the same thing. But we are living in a pretty affluent age (economic crisis aside), and we have the money and ability to buy whatever ingredients we want. Most of us don't spend a lot of money on food a regular basis, but we can if we want. It kind of reminds me of how we used to view movie stars when I was a child. We looked at their homes, and fancy clothes, and furs, and cars, and thought their life was so glamorous. But today, many of us have homes as nice as many movie stars. We really do have an affluent life, but it's all relative to other homes throughout the world.
I think sometimes we take good food for granted. We are so used to eating whatever we want, that we don't always appreciate our good food. But nights like tonight, when my husband and children worked hard to make good Indian food, I can't help but remind myself that we eat like kings!