Among the skills my mother never passed on to me, I include many domestic tasks, such as sewing, ironing and cooking. Why iron, she reasoned, when she could simply avoid it by not permitting anyone in the house to own anything that required ironing? Similarly, my brothers and I knew there was always a sixth guest at our dinner, in addition to our family was the smiling face of Paul Newman, on our salad dressing bottle. The only reason I knew the word ‘Ragu’ was nothing to do with delicious Bolognese sauce, but rather to do with what it said on the jar by the stove.
For years, I thought I did not like salad dressing or pasta sauce–naked lettuce became my MO, the pasta with olive oil, salt, pepper, and following my parent’s enlightening trip to Italy in the early 90′s, real Parmesan cheese.
The lack of much real home cooking in our house, though, did not in any way hamper my innate sense of cooking. From a young age, I’d crawl around in cabinets, inviting friends over for cooking projects, such as a certain ill-fated orange juice and butterscotch cookie attempt. Then, as now, I was not really one for the use of recipes.
I always considered myself, though, despite my dearth of experience at the strings of my mothers apron (I’m not sure she even owned one), a natural cook. A child of the kitchen, the kid who would sit up on the island in my parent’s kitchen even if it were to just watch the water boil, to watch as the dried spaghetti went from rigid sticks to plump noodles, slithering into the water as it cooked.
A love for cooking can be learned, but it need not be taught for so many of us.