In college, I lived off skipping meals and beer. A diet that suited my wallet and had no effect on my waistline. However, at 25 years old, I was a newlywed, blissfully married and neither my husband nor I could cook. My husband refused to believe that beer was a perfectly acceptable calorie replacement for food (stubborn male), and I reluctantly began to notice my metabolism was catching up to me. (Who knew beer was filled with empty calories?)
As he was in Arabic training for 8 hours a day with hours of schoolwork each night, the mission of learning to cook fell on me. I had absolutely no desire to learn how to cook, but my desire to not gain 100 pounds from crappy eating habits was much greater. Thus began my reluctant cooking trials.
Our smoke alarm went off so often that we joked it was our "dinner is ready bell," and we kept a broomstick near the door to prop it open to air out all the smoke. Nearly 8 years later, I can still recite the local pizza delivery service by heart. But, I was stubborn, conceding that I may never be a "good" cook, but that cooking somewhat edible food had to be in my reach.
Then, lo and behold, the smoke began to fade, our broom was used for its originally intended purpose and I graduated from serving edible food (I consider ordering pizza as serving) to being a "good" cook. Exotic recipes, new ingredients, exploring foods, pairing wines, reading cookbooks- I was madly, deeply, hopelessly in love. I started using words like "al dente" "braising" "roux". "Mise en place" became a way of life.
25 years old, newly married and I fell in love with someone new; my husband was not at all jealous of my mistress and insisted on giving us time to ourselves.
I did not lose all my old college habits; but, I did upgrade from beer-I often occasionally replace wine with food as an acceptable form of calorie swapping. Old habits die hard. And wine is delicious.
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