I never used to be particularly talented in the domestic arts. I was kind of a disaster in the kitchen for many years. I'll never forget one of the first times I made pizza for Tom; he requested sausage on his pizza and, not knowing any better, I brought home chorizo from the grocery store. (In my defense, I was a vegetarian at the time and had been one for several years, had in fact spent nearly all of my formative cooking years as one.) I was involved for, I think, a year, in sewing 4-H in late middle school. I managed to make one decent pillow case, which I kept until it ripped irreparably about a month and a half ago. And as anyone who lived with me in college can attest, tidiness is not my forte.
(Okay, Tom and the kids can still attest to that one, but I'm way better than I used to be.)
What I'm getting at, though, is that I've actually grown to be a half-decent cook. I've been baking bread from scratch since Tom & I moved in together. For a while after we first moved to Virginia I was baking some nearly every week. That waned dramatically as I got more heavily pregnant with Eleri, until somewhat recently when our friend Heather moved away and gave me her sourdough starter. Since then I've been steadily working my way up to actual good sourdough bread. (Current achievement: "reasonably decent") Making bread is not so difficult once you know what you're doing, but sourdough is a whole different animal. For one thing, it takes two days to make each batch. It's not necessarily a huge increase in work, but you can't exactly just whip up a batch without some serious forethought and time management. I haven't yet managed to make what I would consider a "true" sourdough, but my most recent loaves have borne just a hint of that sour tang I'm working toward. I'll get there, eventually. (A lot of it has to do, I think, with cultivating the starter in just the right way. I'm still experimenting with different feeding regimens, trying to develop the flavor I'm looking for, but more or less guessing about the specifics.)
In recent weeks, I've branched out from bread to making homemade granola bars. Tom & the kids go through tons of granola bars, and keeping a steady supply the "least bad" ones can be a bit expensive. So I consulted Pinterest and have been working my way through different recipes. I think I've found the one I'm going to stick with, at least for a while, and should be able to tweak the flavor profile for some variety. (Recipe to be added later.) I've also got a recipe for homemade pop tarts I want to try soon.
This is turning into a bit of a humblebrag post (or maybe just straight up braggy brag), which honestly wasn't my intention. Mostly I'm still marveling at the fact that I am apparently way more domestically capable than I ever thought I could be. I've made Christmas stockings for both of the kids, and not long ago I patched a pair of Eleri's jeans by hand, and they not only came out adorably, but the patch is thus far holding up just fine to repeated washings! I marvel at it every time I pull the jeans out of the dryer. Who'da thunk it?
I suppose you could conclude from this that there is indeed hope for me where cleanliness and organization are concerned, but I don't know. Maybe that's just a bridge too far. ;)