Every day I am caught up in trying to decide what to cook for dinner! Anyone out there find themselves in the same predicament?
It’s not that I don’t have much of a choice of what to cook, it’s more about having so much to choose from that it sends me in a spin on some days.
I love to try everything – well almost everything! I am not into cooking up a dish filled with unimaginable little creatures that once crawled across the back patio and then suddenly they are in my frypan! Oh no, I am not that adventurous that’s for sure, but what I do like is to discover foods from all over the world that generally, the ingredients are somewhat familiar to me.
Growing up in a Greek household eating fresh vegetables, legumes and pasta was normal. We ate lamb (like every good Greek – vegetarian or not!), lots of fish and an array of chicken dishes. Occasionally, my baba (dad) who we all crowned the barbecue king, would serve up the best quail you could find and lamb kidney marinated in lots of lemon and rigani. Ah…those were the days!
And then there was those steaming hot soups my mama would make in winter – a fabulous way of staying warm and pumping lots of healthy vegetables into us. Our most favourite, which I would suspect is every Greeks favourite, is the Avgolemono – Egg & Lemon Soup. This soup takes a little while to make, if you are going to make your own stock – but let me assure you, it is worth all that extra time.
Another favourite we enjoyed each Sunday was the Roasted Chicken and potatoes coated heavily in lemon and oil with a generous sprinkling of rigani. Oh man, that was to die for. What was my most favourite part about this meal was the chunks of fresh bread we would dip into the lemon and oil in the pan. The flavours would literally explode in our mouths and we would not stop until all the bread was consumed.
Did I mention how well the pastitsio would go down on a cold Saturday night? Or the Greek salad drenched in oil and vinegar and big chunks of feta on top we would fight over to get as much as we could on our plates?
But our most favourite food experience took place each year during Greek Pascha when my baba would prepare a whole lamb, stuffing it with loads of fresh garlic and rosemary and rubbing it with spoonfuls of pepper and salt. And early the next day, he rose at 5 in the morning to assemble the lamb on the make-shift rotisserie out the back and begin the long haul of turning the lamb over a timber fire.
Today, we have progressed and we have an electric rotisserie that does all the hard work for us – except get up early and get the wood fire going!
So, with an experience like that, being exposed to so much good food, it’s no wonder I can’t decide what to cook!
The only way to overcome this hurdle was to set up a spreadsheet of all the different foods I love and all the different foods I want to explore and experience. So, out came the spreadsheet and a list of all the foods I love and all the foods I want to try out! I also put together a shopping list of the ingredients I would need in the week ahead. So instead of tormenting myself each day as to what I should cook that evening, I am set with all that I need and I follow my list.
What I have achieved through this is no more boring and same ol’ dishes being served up because I can’t decide what to cook. And not only that, my file of recipes and my appreciation for other cultures has increased.
And if there is anything I can suggest to avoid – avoid using processed ingredients and go for fresh! Your taste buds will appreciate it, but so will your health!