I spent the first 39 years of my life not cooking.
In fact, I prided myself on it.
Don't get me wrong - I've always been a bit of a foodie. Not a food snob, but I love to eat, and I appreciate both lowbrow and highbrow food culture. I'm an adventurous eater and haven't yet met a country whose food I don't like. I traveled quite a bit as a child, and time spent living overseas afforded me many opportunities to sample tastes outside of the mainstream U.S. diet.
Still, I never developed much confidence in the kitchen, and made it a point, as an adult, to avoid the kitchen as much as possible. I have almost always dated people who are brave cooks themselves, making it possible for me to sit back and be cooked for.
Enter Ruth Reichl...well, enter Piper, who gave me Ruth Reichl. For Christmas 2007, my colleague Piper gave me Ruth Reichl's The Gourmet Cookbook, a big yellow tome including the best recipes from 60 years of Gourmet Magazine. Ruth's food writing is amazing, and I would be a better person for having read the book even if I never had lifted a finger to actually CREATE one of the recipes....thankfully, though, her writing inspired me to...start cooking. I pledged to create one new recipe a week, and for the most part, I have kept that promise to myself.
A year later, I think I'm a pretty good cook.