Hallmark is notorious for movies spotlighting cooking. There are movies featuring BBQ competitions, kid chef competitions, competing bakeries, romances between chefs, food truck romances, restaurant owner romances . . . you name it (and it involves cooking), there’s probably a Hallmark movie about it.
I, however, have avoided writing about cooking in every way shape and form—with the one notable exception of Savoring the Fall Season with Pumpkin Pie (see post here). Considering this blog is about taking elements of Hallmark movies and adapting them to real life, most people would have jumped straight to the cooking options. There are so many to choose from!
I chased down the only cat in New York City that lives at a firehouse (See Nine Lives of Christmas post here). I recreated Bottled with Love by throwing my own love letter into the Hudson River (See post here). I did a wardrobe makeover (See post here and here), interviewed a Hallmark costume designer (see post here), met and interviewed Paul Greene (see post here and here), and had tea at the Plaza Hotel with the Ladies of Hallmark’s Bubbly Sesh (See post here).
In essence, I have pursued all other story angles to keep myself as far away from the kitchen as humanly possible. I’ll take a board room, business meeting, or public presentation over cooking any day. However, when a global pandemic strikes, I have no option but to figure this out and begin to face my fear.
So now, it’s been nearly 6 months, and how far have I come? Well, I have not become a Michelin-star chef overnight. Nor am I entering any cooking or baking competitions in the foreseeable future. But . . . I do not stink at this, and I have not starved (at least not yet!). I now have a fully stocked refrigerator. I have used my oven, stove, crock-pot, and wok. And believe it or not, I now have a favorite chef, cookbook, and recipe.
Enter Gina Homolka and her Skinnytaste Fast and Slow cookbook, specifically her Korean-Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps. They are delicious and so easy to make! Prior to discovering her (thanks to my friend JR) I felt the food I cooked had no flavor. Now, my dishes (or really Gina Homolka’s dishes) are an explosion of flavors in my mouth. It’s actually made cooking fun.
Don’t get me wrong, I still prefer someone else’s cooking over my own. I am still a NYC girl who loves takeout and cannot wait to be out and about in the city again trying new restaurants, but I am, to my astonishment, learning to enjoy this.
Through it all, I’ve not given up. I’m still experimenting with cooking, which means you might get more Hallmark in Real Life food adventures. And I’m forever thankful for my incredibly encouraging and supportive circle of girlfriends who never seem to tire of my cooking questions, which I usually ask over FaceTime, during the dinner hour and just as I’m in the process of making a mistake. They lovingly and with good humor redirect me. There have been no fires, and I’ve only set off the smoke detector a few times. Needless to say, whether I’m out on the town or cooped up at home, the Real Life adventures continue.