Food NetworkClearly I’ve been bitten by the cooking bug. The dinner that I cooked for Christmas, my failed attempts at French Bread and my success with Madeleines are clear indications that I’ve fallen in love with cooking. I don’t know the cause of it, or where this desire came from. Granted, I love to eat, but eating and cooking are two completely different animals. I’ve been trying to come up with how this new hobby came to be and my only answer is that Food TV reprogrammed me.

My tastes in TV have changed and I find myself getting captivated by home improvement shows. Trading Spaces, While You Were Out, Curb Appeal, you name it, if it’s a home improvement show, I’ll watch it. My rationale is that because some of the channels that air home improvement shows also air cooking shows, it was a natural progression to start watching those. However, I thought that watching a show about cooking was nothing more than a passive interest. Little did I know that it would change the way I thought about food and pull me into the kitchen with mad plans of cooking and preparing big meals. Just look at my wish list for Kitchen Stuff and you’ll see that I’ve gone mad. 😉

My first effort in the kitchen was to try and cook the petite French cake – Madeleines. As I wrote all about it in this entry, my first attempt wasn’t very successful. It wasn’t a failure per se, mostly due to the fact that they were edible, but it wasn’t what I intended to cook. The second batch came out MUCH better and that fueled a desire to try more things. You’d think that I would then try a pie, or maybe one vegetable dish, but with Christmas around the corner, my next effort was a doozie – Christmas Dinner.

Maybe it was the fact that the new year was approaching and thoughts of resolutions were dancing in my head, but the motivation that was behind all this was “I should know how to do…” and then I’d fill in the rest. In other words, somewhere I got the idea that “I should know how to cook Madelines.” That’s something that I should know. I know how to make a great cup of coffee, so I should know how to make a great accompaniment to that. Everything else seemed to blossomed from there. “I should know how to make a good pheasant dish, gumbo, black eyed peas, etc.” So for Christmas I made a huge feast of food and with the exception of the French Bread, everything was delicious. You can read all about it at this link.

After Christmas, since we had purchased so much food, I made another big meal for the following Sunday. I cooked Quail And Mushrooms, Pumpkin and Pancetta Risotto and Green Beans. We had a Claret called “Beritage” by Gundlach Bunchu winery with the meal and it was a perfect marriage. There was plenty of Crème Brûlée left, so I didn’t make a dessert. I did attempt to make French Bread again, twice in fact, but each time met with disaster. I got REALLY close on the last try though. It was the final rise that did me in. I’ve decided that my kitchen is too cold to cook bread in, so until I purchase a small space heater, I’m not going to attempt that style of bread again.

Now that I have two successful dishes under my belt, there’s no telling where this new hobby is going to take me. I’ve already told Holly’s Grandmother that I’d like her to teach me to make her famous Seafood Gumbo when I’m down there next month. I’m going to be like a kid in a candy store – I can’t wait! 😀