5 Jun

Considering I am a little over 30 days away from 30 (Duh duh duhhhhh! Geesh, I sincerely hope the world doesn’t implode on July 8th) I have decided to write love letters (or hate letters in some cases) to each of my goals as a way to reflect on this crazy year.

So here I go…

Dear Learn How To Cook,

I only put you on the list because I realized that, sadly, I couldn’t eat at the Whole Foods prepared section for the rest of my life. That, and I thought it would be nice to be able to cook dinner for my future kids- those little imaginary bundles of joy deserve a mom who makes homemade dinners, right? So for those two reasons, I put “learn how to cook” on my “365 til 30” list and tried to forget about my earlier bad experiences attempting you – hey, people can change, right?

After fearing you for so long, I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to tackle you at first. How does one learn to cook? Should I teach myself a new recipe each week? Learn a whole book of recipes a la Julie and Julia? Maybe take cooking classes? I was stuck….but then I had an idea! What if I asked people in my life to teach me their favorite dishes- they would most likely be patient with me as well!!

I have to give myself a pat on the back for this brilliant idea because not only did I learn how to cook this year, but I formed surprising new bonds and strengthened old friendships and connections in the process.

Learning how to cook brought me closer to everyone in my life.

I fell in love with the process of gathering in the kitchen to cook with friends…conversation, laughter and good wine flowing in the process. I also fell in love with that warm feeling I got in my heart when I prepared a meal for somebody else…there is something so nurturing about it. In addition to that warm feeling I got in my heart, my ego also wanted to scream with delight…I. Made. This. For. You! Aren’t you in awe as well??! Where is my applause?!

Some of my favorite memories this year happened attempting to master you. I laughed A LOT, cried once (ok maybe twice), got over my aversion to handling raw chicken, learned the famous chicken & dumplings dish my pops ate as a kid, learned the art of cooking with ski googles and almost chopped my finger off only once. I’d say this whole adventure in the kitchen was a success!
So thanks, cooking. Thanks for making my life come alive. Thanks for helping me see what I want my kitchen to look like moving into my 30’s. Now I know that I want to be the kind of woman who has her friends over for Sunday night dinners, makes breakfast in bed for Brian, whips up delicious soups on rainy afternoons and bakes pies with her kids.

You helped me become a better woman.

I have decided that I will be keeping you on my goal list for next year because I plan on doing lots and lots more of you during my 30th year. This is only the beginning for us.
Love, Kate

A trip down memory lane…

-learning Aunt Paule’s famous Kugle recipe

– Learning Mary’s Peach Pie

– Learning Pamela and my Dad’s lemon squares

– the night I handled raw chicken and almost killed people by serving a raw bird-

– learning how to make pizza from scratch

Moroccan chicken with Alex-

the night I realized I was comfortable in the kitchen-

– The night I tried to go all Julia Child-

-the night I wore ski goggles to cook-

– learning my grandma’s chicken & dumplings

 – learning Aunt Michelle’s apple cake-

Many more to come….


“Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.”

Harriet Van Horne


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18 Responses to “33”

  1. Cassy June 5, 2012 at 8:16 am #

    What an awesome idea! And it looks so much fun!! I think my friends would benefit from this! Some of them do not know how to cook at all, but it would be so much fun to teach them!

    • katemcclafferty June 5, 2012 at 10:02 am #

      You should!!! It’s so much fun to cook with friends:)

  2. cravesadventure June 5, 2012 at 8:56 am #

    Great Post – love to cook as well as learning and experimenting with cooking. I have experienced burned pudding, wallpaper paste rice, overseasoned inedible chicken – it was fun, made some memories and had some laughs. Have a Great Day!

  3. the usual bliss June 5, 2012 at 9:11 am #

    I taught myself to cook and my very favorite part is making my loved ones happy (and full) with something yummy I make. Love this post!

    • katemcclafferty June 5, 2012 at 10:03 am #

      Thank you!!! I need a few of your favorite recipes!

      • the usual bliss June 5, 2012 at 10:53 am #

        I have some GREAT ones that are relatively easy! Hmm. I’ll think!

  4. Mind Margins/Run Nature June 5, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    How wonderful that your grandmother taught you how to make chicken and dumplings. I had to learn on my own–but it’s never as good as when Moss made it!

    • katemcclafferty June 5, 2012 at 10:04 am #

      Isn’t that the truth! Nobody makes it like grandma:)

  5. becca3416 June 5, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Cooking is one of the greatest joys and brings people together like no other. Congrats on your accomplishments in the cuisine arena! You should put gumbo on your list for the future. It takes patience and you most certainly will never get it right on the first try but when you do tinker your recipe just right, there is nothing more soothing than a big ole gumbo gathering. Oh, don’t forget to eat with potato salad. It is a southern requirement!

    • katemcclafferty June 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      I definitely want to try a gumbo!! Do you have any good recipes?

      • becca3416 June 5, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

        Yes! I’d be glad to send it to you.

  6. gregorychankins June 5, 2012 at 10:45 am #

    Writing a letters to your goals. That’s such a clever idea, Kate.

    I’m the cook in our household, and can only say that you’ve chosen a good goal to continue with. The bane of my cooking career has always been the full-on turkey dinner. I’ll never know why sometimes the bird comes out of the oven on-time and done perfectly, all the dinner guests grinning with anticipation and appreciation. And other times, that dam thigh won’t get passed 160 degrees no matter how much time you give it, raising my anxiety level to the roof while the restless guests fidget and eat too many snacks.

    Have fun. The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home.

    • katemcclafferty June 5, 2012 at 12:39 pm #

      Thank you Gregory! 🙂
      Just thinking about having to make a full-on turkey dinner with guests waiting gives me a slight panic! Ha. Baby steps
      “The kitchen is the heart and soul of the home”- love that.

  7. Erin Haslag (@WELLinLA) June 5, 2012 at 11:48 am #

    Loving the letters! It feels like an appropriate homage in your journey. And drinking while cooking makes it all the more fun!

  8. onepartgypsy.com June 6, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    so sweet. love this! xx


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