Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Sometimes I Wish I'd Taken Home Ec Instead of Advanced Math

I can cook. Sort of.

What I really mean is that I can follow a recipe. But otherwise, I need help and need your recommendations.

I learned in 4-H club how to bake. I learned how to measure ingredients properly and how certain types of ingredients interact with each other in the baking process. I know the function of many ingredients in a recipe (structure, moisture, taste, react with the baking soda for rising, etc.)

Lots of theory. Not so good in practice. 

So really, I can bake; but would I call myself a cook? I can make meatloaf and can put together a recipe with chicken and other meat ingredients. I can innovate a recipe and make it healthier.

I can even calculate fractions in my head and adjust the recipe as needed. I can tell you from memory the internal temperature that different varieties of meat should achieve before they're considered safe to eat.

I can tell you about the Maillard Reaction and can use it to impart such wonderful rich flavor and depth without a boatload of fat (thank you Graham Kerr).

But give me a piece of meat and no further instructions, and I'm clueless.

I learned all about the RDA and later the Food Guide pyramid. I can tell you exactly how many servings of each type of food you need and the percentages of your diet it should make up. I know how to convert grams and calories into percentages of calories.

Am I boring yet? I hope not! Because I need help.

I can name for you the good and the bad fats. I can even tell you the chemical formulas of certain fats and the basic structures of amino acids.

Why do I know so much yet can do so little?

I declined taking home economics in high school in favor of advanced college prep courses. And then in college, I took specialty courses in human nutrition and food science as electives. And looking back, those probably still were the right courses of action. I still believe God is going to do something with that.

Yet, at the same time, I missed something somewhere.

In pursuing the advanced, I missed out on the basics. I wish there had been a middle school home economics class -- a time to learn before the pressures of college prep drowned out anything and everything else.

So... Where does a brainiac with impaired daily living skills go to get better? And... sign me up, please!