I love to cook almost anything. My best creative dishes are ones in which I have no recipe, but rather build up to a final product. Generally in our household, I do the bulk of the cooking since my lovely woman works a full time job, and I work here at the house. Since I have always been creative, I choose to do so now in the kitchen. I find it extremely relaxing to root through the refrigerator and create some mouth watering downright taste exploding dish. I do tend to lean towards a bit spicier concoctions IE:red pepper,black pepper, garlic, seasoning salts, cinnamon, and many other. However my wife cannot take too much spice so I do tone it way down. This madness started years ago when my wife worked at the Kansas City Board of Trade in the General Mills Grain Division. Her two bosses at the time were heavily involved in the KC Board of Trade barbecue team which once a year competed in the big Barbecue here in KC around the same time as the KC Royal event. She was invited to the KC Barbecue one year where we went, and partied in the Board of Trade tent. All you could care to eat and drink for one minor price. I was totally hooked on their entries to the contest. I began asking questions, how do they smoked the meats, spice them, how long to cook, in short everything I could think of to learn how to make these wonderful delicacies. I learned how they made their own rubs, and began experimenting with various ingredients. I added some and subtracting some, varying the amounts of each, and after several years I found the combinations that most people who tried them agreed was the best they ever tasted. Over the next few years, I experimented with various techniques for smoking the meats, the types of woods I used, and the speed in which I cooked them. I can finally now say I think the final product is at its peak in flavor, though knowing me I will probably continue to tweak and expirement. I got into cooking many other dishes simply as a way to help out my wife last year because her job had morphed into several other things, and she was working a huge amount of overtime hours to keep pace. I at first took some of her basic recipes and began tweaking and shucking until I found something I liked. Then are started rummaging in the fridge each day, began with some sort of basic meat and sat down creating. Boy did I create! I like using garlic a lot, but not too overpowering. Another favorite is the use of peppers or onions. One of the basic tenets I subscribe to is never over use any spice. A spice or flavoring should be a complement to the meats and vegetables, not an overpowering force. It reminds me of the time when I was still a kid, and my older sister (name omitted to protect her feelings) tried to make a mint cake. She followed the directions until she got to adding the mint flavoring. It read to add 2 tsp of mint, and she thought tsp and tblspn was the same thing. Needless to say the cake did not come out exactly correct. But I stray. I have learned to add gradually the ingredients and keep tasting so as not over do it. Some dishes require a bit more, some a bit less. I also blend unusual things into the dishes if I think the new spice will add a dimension to the flavor of the dish that again complements, not takes over. I also enjoy chopping and cutting, as long as the knife is sharp. I find the whole cooking process enjoyable, and I look forward to creating something new or a variation upon an old recipe almost every day.
Funny how things change even though they are staying the same. In fact, when I was much younger, many of the situations I found myself in were simple to negotiate and to overcome. Now that I am closing in on my 60s these simple things are becoming more and more difficult. I use to glide through various tasks daily without thinking about them, and now I have to stop and pointedly ask myself can I now do this. Yes some of this is simply old age rearing its ugly head. Another part of this is I have actually gotten smart enough to realize not to blaze into every thing that happens without thinking about the consequences. For example, when I was younger I could like most people bound down the stairs, even skipping some to save myself a bit of time. Now I look at most every stair step and make sue my foot is firmly planted as I step down. When I get up in the mornings, many times I must force myself just to get out of bed, but not before I check myself to and make sure everything is still in place and is still working. I also tend to count every pain, making a mental note of any other pains that have popped up today. I think about every trip away from the house, how far I must walk,and is this really important to go? Although I have some minor health issues, overall I am not in too bad shape considering my age, weight, and general mileage on the old body. It just amazes and amuses me that I look at the entire world through my slow and painful glasses. I am not really complaining, but rather just discussing life in general. I do not complain about my advancing age, simply because at least I am aging, if not the alternative may be a lot worse. I also find it difficult to get off the ground or the floor anymore. Some of this again is age, weight, and general declining muscle mass. I also realize that things I use to like to do are no longer fun for me. I do not really care to go to amusement parks, the rides are generally more painful and less exciting than when I was young. Even though I do once in a while pine for some of the things I no longer do, I find myself making new areas of interest to keep my life exciting, or at the least entertaining. I enjoy movies but feel they have gotten way too expensive...why pay $9 and up to see a movie that I may find lousy or boring? I do not need to see any movie first run, I am just as happy to watch it later when it has been around for a while. I do not much care to go to sporting events, why go it is much more relaxing to sit in my living room in front of a large screen tv only a few steps from the bathroom, or the kitchen and my chair is much much more comfortable than a bench seat, or hard plastic chair in a stadium. Things as they are overall, I am satisfied with how my life is heading, and wish only that everyone else could find peace within their own boundaries, such that I have found.