What’s Cooking

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The other day, I got a notification that I’ve made 1000 posts in this here space. Now, almost all of the early stuff has been safely tucked away for reasons that were explained at the time. I don’t have an average word count, but since I tend to ramble, let’s assume 600 words per post. So if you do the math (carry the one, …) that comes to 600,000 words. War and Peace only had 587,287 words so there you go.

I also got a notification that “my stats were booming”. It seems that someone viewed almost every one of my remaining posts. I don’t know enough about how the stats work to know how WordPress calculates these things so I don’t know if they read everything or just kind had fun paging through. Well, whoever you are, I hope you enjoyed your visit.

So I want to talk about something else I do for fun. I’m not all about the dancing, you know. I guess I’m feeling a little random today and maybe you want to know more about me. Maybe you don’t but that’s not going to stop me.

Many years ago, there used to be a culinary school here in town and they would do a limited number of Saturday classes open to the public. Basically, there was a theme and they had recipes and you paired up and went to town. Got to use all the fancy restaurant style equipment too. My wife and I went to several of these and had a blast. Unfortunately, this is no longer an option.

But I still love cooking. Now, I need to differentiate cooking from baking. Baking is mostly science and requires precision because there’s lot of chemistry involved and things don’t work as well if you deviate. Cooking is more like an art. Yeah, there are recipes, but they are mostly guidelines. I just kind of like going to the spice cabinet and picking out a few that seem to go together.

For some reason, I love dicing stuff up. I don’t know why. It is kind of relaxing in a way. So I love things that start with onions, celery and/or carrots. Things you can hack into many tiny pieces. Potatoes are fun to chop up as well. I don’t get totally uniform pieces because I’m just not that precise but I kind of like getting to the end and seeing my little piles of diced up stuff just waiting to be tossed into the pot.

I got away from it for a bit when I was dancing four nights a week. Then, making dinner just became a speed race because there just wasn’t time. But, a couple of months ago, we got an Instant Pot (I know, trendy) but it has really kick started my interest in cooking again. When the cook time is 5-10 minutes, it is easier to invest the time in all the dicing and prep work that I kind of enjoy.

I don’t have a signature dish – sorry just haven’t given it that much thought. Tonight, I made a saffron chicken stew. I think it ended up needing more salt but the saffron flavor and color was certainly there. Had some diced onions, carrots and celery along with some chopped garlic and a little chopped kale. Coated the chicken in flour and paprika, used the saute setting to brown it and then added the vegetables and cooked those down a bit. Some chicken stock and pressure cook fro 6 minutes and we were done. Served with rice – I cheated and used one of those par cooked rice things in a pouch that you can microwave but I added it to the stew and cooked it for a bit so the rice took up some of the broth.

I was in a ‘manager’s meeting’ on Monday and there is another guy at work who knows we used to take classes so he randomly asks if I’m still cooking. Got onto the subject of the Instant Pot and pretty much all the other male managers talked about how their wives love to use their Instant Pots. Seriously, none of them take the time to figure out how to cook something? Yeah, I don’t fit the mold.

So I did something a little out of character today. There is still a lot of buzz at work and people were starting to get into the conversations about who they think is going to go and who is going to stay. I sent an email around to try and provide some support. Truth is that none of us know how the decisions are going to be made and speculating about that is not productive. I gave them some other words and then I found four quotes speaking to worrying about the future and how futile it truly is.

One of them was “Worrying about the future is tempting but useless. Do the best you can with what’s right in front of you and the future will fall into place.”

Now, not saying you should just blissfully go about your business pretending that nothing is happening. But if you are truly worried about losing your job, channel that energy into some thinking and planning. What else could I do? Where are other opportunities? That’s productive.

It’s funny because years ago I would not have done this. The thought of using quotes just seemed cheesy to me. But I’ve come around to the power of using things like that. It was kind of like the fitness guy was talking about that you can have some control over how you feel. And quotes like this can maybe help rewire your brain a bit.

Anyway, that’s just some random stuff for today. Off in a minute to my dance lesson. We have luckily missed the “bomb cyclone” that is making life miserable for lots of people today. But we got way above normal today and there is a front coming in to shove out the warm stuff and get us back to normal March like stuff. So the wind is howling out there and I have a killer sinus headache. Ah, the joys of living in a place with highly variable weather.

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