What makes a blogger blog about what their blog is about? Well, dear reader, here is my story. I read a terrifying piece of journalism not too long ago by one of my culinary heroes, reporting that no one cooks anymore. Food networks and television shows enjoy surging popularity, so people are still enamored with eating and cooking, but the path from ingredients to food is increasingly blurred by busy lives, fussy preparations, poor food quality, and a general lack of knowledge about ingredients.

This thesis left me utterly dismayed. Where have all the cooks gone? In my mind’s eye, I saw tumbleweeds bouncing through dusty kitchens. Refrigerators empty but for a crusty ketchup bottle and sagging cardboard take-out cartons. Culinary wastelands. Heartbreak. How could I remedy this blight? I wanted to take unrequited lovers of food by the hand, and lead them back to their stoves. I wanted to reunite people with deliciousness, and show them how it can come out of their own efforts. Put an ad in the paper: “Wanted, Home cooks. Must love food.” I wanted to share with the masses the knowledge and experience that I’ve wrought from my years of cooking and bring us all back into harmony with our inner chefs. To transform that bleak vision of kitchen deserts into flourishing jungles of culinary creation. Thus was born Can Do Kitchen.

Time for my confession: I cook because I am spoiled. I want what I want when I want it. And I know what I like. Who doesn’t? These factors, combined with my dear love of eating, limited resources, and high expectations have led me straight down a path to cooking. My big sister used to say to me, “If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself!” And while she might have meant that spitefully at the time (I’m sure I’d done something ALL WRONG), she had a point. When it comes to food, unless we have endless budget or a magic wand, in order to have what we want – and know what’s in it! – we have to be able to create it on our own. So that is what I’m offering here – get what you want, when you want it, low cost! All you need is your own drive to make it, a desire to try, and a few simple tools.

[As a side note, I don’t believe you need special gadgets to make tasty meals. Sure, they have their place in haute cuisine, but for the most part, all you need is a good set of pots and pans, a wooden spoon, a kitchen towel/potholder, and a couple of decent, sharp knives. Investment in any of these items will never disappoint. I don’t own a melon baller or a bagel slicer. And yet, I eat so well.]

In my years of experiencing food, I’ve worked on identifying ingredients, food qualities and cooking methods, and lining them up like little soldiers in my cooking arsenal. This way, when I’m served a particularly ravishing cheese log at a party, I can more or less parse out what went into it, what I do and do not love about it (see Caveat #3 below), and how it was assembled so that I can recreate it myself. And lo and behold, over the years I’ve become quite good at it. I also love to read about food and recipes, and I do a lot of it, so I’m not afraid to swap and switch and make hybrids to bring my dishes to fruition.

It is this intimate familiarity with ingredients and cooking methodology that we need to rebuild the bridge between our love of food and our hungry bellies. It is my personal mission to share that through Can Do Kitchen. I want to give food lovers the tools they need to create healthy, fresh food that is satisfying to them. So no one has to compromise! No one has to live in fear of daunting Ingredients and Methods.

And so I hereby denounce the forces of time and progress that are separating us from food – our life force, and a source of so much joy. Cooking what you want, when you want does not have to be a superhuman feat. By familiarizing ourselves with ingredients and methods, we can be satisfied and healthy – satisfied at having accomplished something new or difficult, and also satisfied in that yes, that’s just what my belly was craving kind of way. Sure, there will be failures. And sacrifice. But, truly, every mistake you make is informing a future astronomical success that will make your heart swell with pride – and your belly swell with satisfaction.

Join me, kitchen soldiers. Hold your whisks aloft and march forth. Strap on your spice bandoliers. Tonight, we’re making supper.

The Caveats

1) I’m not a food scientist, a nutritionist, a doctor, a professional chef, a historian, a farmer, or your mom. I read a lot, taste a lot, and cook a lot, and in this blog I make a lot of informed assertions grown from my own experience and passed on from my own kitchen gurus. I will do my utmost to bring you the best quality of information about food, its origins, its history, and its properties. Discussion of these items is most welcome in the Can Do forum of comments or email.

2) I try to eat healthy things, but you will find that my definition of healthy is not necessarily low fat or vegan or anything else that many people qualify as “healthy” these days. My definition of healthy food is food that is real. Food that is as close to its original form as possible, and, hopefully, as close to its source as possible. I frequent my farmer’s market and grow things in my backyard garden. I avoid prepared foods and mixes and other things that come with additives that I can’t pronounce or buy at the grocery store myself. I think red wine, bacon, and homemade chocolate chip cookies are all good for you, in moderation.

3) I eat everything, except walnuts. I’m sorry if my recipes never include walnuts, but you can’t make me like them, so there. If you love them, throw them in, see if it works! Roast them, toast them, candy them, chop them! No fear!

4) To err, they say, is human. I’m human. If you come across any errors, I thank you for bringing them to my attention, and I will remedy the situation as best and as soon as possible. Your participation in this blogging-sharing-learning process is invaluable. Be kind.