In the past, I've always hated my cooking, with only a few exceptions, and mostly baked chicken. I was always good at fixing the obvious simple meals, a sandwich, oatmeal, eggs, etc. I learned it from the time I was about six. My parents taught us the basics of getting through life and as kids it meant knowing and doing the basics. We kept our rooms clean and orderly, made the bed, made our breakfast and lunch for school, and so on.
But I never really learned to cook, and the military didn't help living in barracks with a mess hall and local fast food places. And when I was married Linda was the cook. And she was a great one. Horrible at cleaning, but that was my job. The kitchen always looked like a hurricane came through after she was finished. She never left anything untouched, usually with grease, butter, flour, etc. and never left a pot or pan unused. But she could cook.
When we separated and later divorced, she gave me the basic cookware set and gave me one rule, which is simple to remember. She said, "You can cook anything at 350 (degrees) for one hour." Well, it's true 90+% of the time and the rest you simply adjust the time shorter or longer. And I've lived with that rule ever since. The only difference was about 10 years ago.
One day the handle on the last frypan broke. I had nothing to cook eggs. So I noticed a large department chain had Calphahon cookware on sale. I went there and liked it, so I bought the large basic cookset and a few specific types of pots, pans,bakeware, utensils, etc. And over the next few years added a few more when the need arose. It's cool stuff.
I mean really cool stuff. You don't know how bad cookware can be until you've used cookware of this quality and calibar. It's a lifetime investment you'll never regret. Ever. It pays for itself with the way it controls and dispense the heat for the cooking. You have to be really bad, totally forgetful, or stupid to ruin or burn food with this stuff.
Then I proceeded to learn to cook more meals. At least until my digestive system really went south and it collected dust until this year when the system began sorta' working again and I could try new foods and try cooking again. It happened in June, when 3 monthes earlier they found an infection in my jawbone which had destroyed all of the inside the jaw around and below a tooth and spreading to the neighboring teeth.
I still have another 1-2 years before the jaw is fully healed and completely normal again (no drugs), but, while the system is going through some dynamic changes and reactions, it's slowly getting better. Ok, different. Better is relative because it's still not normal, but at least my list of approved foods is longer and including more foods I've long had problems with.
Since then I dragged out the cookware, replaced all the foods in the cupboards (long expired) and set a plan to try one new food or meal a week, from all the meats to all the grains and fresh and cooked vegetables. And all with the Calphalon cookware. It restored my faith in them as the best cookware for ordinary cooks like me. You don't have to worry about the cooking, only the food.
And I've slowly began to like my cooking, even some baking. In the past I've been what I call, "the 5-minute cook", meaning if I can't fix it in 5 minutes or prepare it and stuff it in the oven in 5 minutes, I don't cook it. I've extended it to 10-15 minutes for dishes you have to watch, stir and add components during the cooking process.
What does it mean? Well, last year I routinely told people the list of foods I can eat you can write on a postit note with room for notes. On one side too. Well, it's now longer for routine foods and even longer for occasional foods. To test foods or meals I use the baseball rule. I give the food or meal two tries.
If it creates mild adverse reactions with those times, I mark it on the list to avoid, but maybe try again later. If it still creates a bad reaction, it's out for a longtime, only to revisit well into the future. If it doesn't change, It's on the list of something to try again for a third time in the near future. In short, I give food three strikes before it's off the list of even possible foods or meals.
The problem is that some foods are creating mixed reactions as the body fights and recovers from the infection. But I don't know if it's the food or the body, because even former ok foods are creating mild adverse reactions. I just have to keep waiting for the body to recover and the digestive system to find itself where I can know better about foods and meals.
But until then I love my Calphahon cookware. It makes me a better cook and makes the food better to enjoy.