Some time ago my wife said she was impressed how I have no fear about baking and cooking from scratch. I didn't really understand what that meant but soon realized that many people fear scratch cooking.
To me, scratch cooking is just cooking. Growing up in a pretty humble household, we didn't have a lot of prepared foods and rarely went out to restaurants. So infrequent were those excursions, I fondly remember our outings.
As a kind, I spent many hours clinging to my mother while she was cooking in the kitchen. I observed hundreds of dished being cooked and though she didn't bake much, I was usually right there when she did. We pretty much made everything from scratch. I guess my lack of fear of cooking from scratch comes from that was just the way we did it. I didn't know any better. Much like Chauncey the Gardner from the movie Being There.
Fast forward many years to my wife developing her impressive cooking skills, also mostly from scratch. My confidence in scratch cooking and baking is firmly reinforced by her inspirational cooking skills. I know I can rely on her when I don't understand why something isn't right.
Just last night when we popped the top off my Thanksgiving Chocolate Cream Pie, my wife instantly let me know my custard wasn't setup. First, what the heck is a custard? I made chocolate cream pie. Turns out the process of cooking egg yolks, sugar, milk, etc is making a custard. Well, I made one and it runeth. Tastes great but was more of a loose pudding than pie.
I guess I didn't simmer long enough or cooled too quickly. I'll figure it out next time or the time after. Or, maybe never.
On the other hand, my Bourbon Pecan Pie, based on a vintage recipe my mom wrote down on a recipe card 50 years ago, came out great. I am not a fan of Pecans but when I dry toasted them in a cast iron pan, WOW, they are fantastic.
I'll wrap up my first article letting folks know we don't have to fear the unknown, it is just unknown to us. We'll embrace the adventure and enjoy our failures and successes.