When I was a kid we used to play Dungeons & Dragons. Yep, I’m a dork. We didn’t dress up though, and we didn’t take it seriously. Well, not TOO seriously. I was lucky to have a group of really smart, funny friends around. We took every chance we could to mock each other and make smartass comments (some things never change). My sister even joined us sometimes, and she’s one of the funniest humans on the planet. It was great.
Anyway, one time we were discussing what our characters probably ate, and my friend Damian said “hardtack and swill.” I don’t know why, but it struck me as really funny. I pictured the most disgusting slop and putrid ‘drink’ possible, both probably served in a bucket. That phrase always stuck with me. So there you have it.
Given the ‘bachelor’ nature of this blog, I decided to make the first post about cereal. That way you’ll think I can’t cook at all and then BAM! I’ll hitcha with my Teriyaki Chicken Salad with Gaysian Dressing. You won’t know what to think! Or something.
I actually love to cook. I probably missed my calling. Not that I’m great, I just love doing it. Growing up I used to hate it when I’d have to be involved in the process. I don’t know why. Maybe it reminded me that supper time was coming soon, and I’d have to come in from playing outside. To this day the smell of chicken curry makes me want to run across the street and play one last round of kick the can.
Later, around college, I started dabbling a bit. My dad told me that was when he started learning and experimenting. He also told me he was addicted to Pepsi at that age. He’d drink a two liter bottle a day. I don’t know why that sparked my interest. Maybe it was the first time I saw him as slightly flawed and not superhuman. I don’t know, but there was something romantic about the image of him shuffling around in a little apartment, slugging Pepsi straight out of the bottle, smoking cigarettes one after the other and trying to make some magic come out of a skillet on a hot plate. It probably wasn’t like that, but that’s how I imagined it. Very Jack Kerouac in my mind.
So I started watching him when I was home, and asking questions. I should have asked more, and I should have written things down. I still have an Italian cookbook with some recipes in his handwriting stuck in it. Those are treasure to me now.
After college I started working in a Ruby Tuesday as a waiter. My sister still had a year of college left and I had no clue what to do with myself, so it was a good fit. Actually Gina and several of my good friends ended up working there too. It was a really fun job. I miss those. Anyway I eventually started working in the kitchen, where a couple of veteran cooks started teaching me stuff. I’ll post about them and my time at Ruby’s. I also worked at a fancy Italian restaurant for a while, and watched the guys in the kitchen there too.
After that it was, and is still, all experimentation. I don’t think my dad ever measured anything in his life, and it seems like both my sis and I have turned out the same way. Sometimes it bombs. In my twenties I was known to cook supper 3 times (and yeah, I say supper. My dad was from New York, maybe it’s an east coast thing?)
So here I’ll post pics of what I made, good or bad. I’ll try to document the screw ups too, although thankfully those are much fewer and farther between these days. My sister credits me with starting her on taking pictures of food. I remember that night she came home and I was taking pics of some fajitas I’d just made. They just looked so…perfect. The picture came out like crap though. I still have it somewhere, I’ll have to dig it up. But I have to credit Gina for starting me on the food blog thing. Hers is so good I got jealous and thought I’d play copycat. I’m even using the same template. Shameless.
Hopefully in the coming months I can prove that bachelors can cook. Even if it’s hardtack and swill.