August 2, 2011

Cooking Comfort Zone

I've always loved Indian food. It's full of interesting, complex, rich flavor and it's so filling and satisfying. While I'm great at eating and enjoying Indian food, I don't have a good track record at making Indian food. I don't know if it was me or the recipes I used, but I always turned out flavorless or strange-tasting dishes. After several failed attempts I resigned myself to buying Indian food if I wanted it. Indian food became a weak spot for me because it was something I loved so much but I had come to the conclusion that I could never make it for myself. It was far outside of my cooking comfort zone. Even since becoming vegan and cooking so many new foods, it still hadn't occurred to me to try again.

I started craving Indian food a couple of weeks ago. I bought a big load of samosas one day and worked on them for a couple of days. Then I bought some curry for lunch another day, and again a couple of days later. Then I was like, "Why don't I try to make this again?" 

Since finding Manjula's Kitchen and making her recipes, I definitely feel more competent at it. I have made several Indian dishes during the past week or two, with great success. Not only have my curries come out very tasty, they have not been difficult to make. I am on a serious Indian kick right now, spurred by cravings for it, and maintained by finally being able to produce it at home.

Of all the positive effects of veganism, I'm currently very grateful for opening myself up to experimenting more in the kitchen. I used to have a repertoire of recipes and cooking techniques to which I clung firmly. Since becoming vegan I appreciate food a lot more and trust it a lot more, and that has led me to push my old limits on what I'm willing to try. I make new foods all the time now. With every new dish I make, I am not only reaching outside of my cooking comfort zone, I am expanding it. It's good for me because I get to try new things and keep learning, and it's good for my loved ones because they also get to reap the pleasures and benefits of new, yummy, cholesterol-free, animal-free foods.

Do you have a cooking comfort zone? What dishes or cuisines are difficult for you to make?

Vegan on a Shoestring

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