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The secret to becoming a better cook

I never like to be negative about anything, but when it comes to cooking let's just say, I've never been a gourmet chef, much less a decent short-order cook. Even my 5-year-old son has told me: 'Mom, this doesn't taste very good,' while he grimaces. And my husband has given me a couple of telling 'ohs' when looking at the dinner plates I set out in front of my
family. And I know it probably doesn't taste good because I threw it in the microwave, at around 5:30, when everyone was starving--and then tossed in a few shakes of whatever spice I could find in the cabinet. 

My problem has always been that I haven't had the time or patience to learn how to be a good cook. (Note, however, that I was a 10-year subscriber to a well-known cooking magazine--and I never made ONE recipe, not one. I finally owned up to my sham and cancelled my subscription.) But we had friends over for dinner over the weekend and I decided to make an effort. I chopped and prepped the ingredients for a salad, roasted potatoes, and a pesto sauce and husked the corn early in the afternoon. Then once our friends came over, I just had to heat up the pasta, boil the corn, broil the potatoes--and voila, a perfectly acceptable dinner that my son actually ate! (One friend even asked for my roasted potato recipe: chop up red new potatoes so they're in small pieces and toss in olive oil; drizzle a cookie sheet with olive oil; arrange the potatoes in a single layer on it; sprinkle with salt and fresh rosemary ­and broil until they're crispy, typically about 30 minutes. You can flip the potatoes half way with a spatula.)

One daily change: If you think you can't do something, you really CAN. In the case of cooking, it just takes a little prep work (isn't that the answer to being a success at anything?)


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