For a long time I gravitated toward traditional comfort foods. Steak and potatoes. Hamburgers. Fried Chicken. You get the picture. I attribute much of this to how I grew up, but also to a general lack of creativity and know how in the kitchen. The food I was used to was generally bland and not always the best for me.

A few years ago I had a paradigm shift. I was completely bored with food. We were fixing the same six or seven meals over and over and over again. We supplemented this with a heavy dose of eating out. My taste buds and my wallet were suffering. This was a recipe for disaster. Then I saw Chef Rick Bayless‘ show Mexico: One Plate at a Time on our local PBS station. I can state with certainty that this is the time my love for cooking started to take shape.

Not only was the food I was seeing on TV not bland, it was colorful and looked delicious. The first episode I watched was about making salsa. He made a few different recipes that were just awesome. I went straight to the grocery store and spent at least 40 bucks on produce. I had a blast, and after a few tries some of the salsas started tasting right. I eventually got a copy of his Authentic Mexican cookbook and have really enjoyed cooking from it. (One of my goals for the year is to cook from it much more!)

I have branched out further still. I got the iPhone app Food Network: In The Kitchen. Every time we see a recipe being made on the Food Network I search for it in the application and then save it to my online recipe box. I found a recipe by Guy Fieri called Bacon and Tomato Pasta. (Whoa. That one is good!) Every time I find a good recipe it makes me want to push on further still and find more. It is a never ending hunt that has been extremely fun.

I also turned another corner when I saw Julie and Julia last year. Julie Powell’s journey was interesting enough because I blog, but the parts of the story about Julia Child really captured my attention. She was nearly 40 years old before she learned to cook. It was  years after that before the world would know her as we do now. It is not too late to learn to cook and to cook well. I was left with no excuses.

I still enjoy a good steak. I have gotten much better at making them over the years. I love a good hamburger as well, but that is because I don’t eat them that often anymore. There are many other foods out there that have found their way into my home. The list that initially had less than ten items on it now has over 40 and continues to grow.

I am on the journey away from the ordinary (in this and other areas of my life) and I am really enjoying the ride. What about you? Where are you on your cooking journey?

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