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Cooking lessons from Rowan County residents

May I visit your kitchen?

As the new lifestyle editor for the Post, I’m trying to learn how to cook.
Right now, the majority of my meals are restaurant takeout or frozen dinners.
If I decide to make something, it’s usually a simple turkey sandwich or a salad.
I’ve tried recipe after recipe, but something always goes wrong. I’m a master at kitchen disasters.
Overcooking is my speciality. If something’s not burnt, it’s usually dangerously raw, forcing me to pop it back into the oven and promptly burn it.
I usually end up eating my creation anyway because I hate to waste a meal. I’ll cut off the burned parts and douse some type of condiment on it in hopes of making it edible.
When I got a slow cooker, I thought all of my cooking problems were solved. False.
Chicken and dumplings, chili and fiesta chicken were ruined using my slow cooker.
I managed to eat the chicken and dumplings, but the dumplings tasted gummy and tough. The chili was overdone and the fiesta chicken was absolutely flavorless.
I tried to make brownies using a waffle maker, a trick I found on Pinterest.
The brownie mix, which I made following the directions, ended up sticking to the waffle maker, even though I coated it with no-stick cooking spray first.
Instead of making a brownie, I made a huge mess. I sprayed and scrubbed the waffle maker for weeks trying to get the brownie off to no avail. I ended up having to trash it.
It’s hard to pinpoint why I’m such a horrible cook because my mom is most excellent. She cooked almost every night when I was growing up.
When I get a few days off to head home to Greenville, I look forward to her delicious home-cooked meals, which include everything from chicken pot pie to meatloaf.
I never learned how to cook from my mom, probably because I was too busy eating or just too busy.
When I was in high school, my afternoons and weekends were filled with homework, extracurricular activities and work.
College was much the same, except I didn’t even live at home.
I moved back in with my parents for a couple of months before I came to Salisbury, but I spent most of that time working.
Now that I have a weekly food page to produce, maybe I’ll take the time to learn a few things from mom. Even if she is more than three hours away, she’s always willing to help by phone.
I’m also hoping some Rowan County residents will invite me to their homes and teach me how to cook their favorite dish.
It doesn’t have to be fancy, just something close to the heart.
What will this visit to your kitchen involve?
Post photographer Jon Lakey and I would come at a convenient time for you.
You can show us from start to finish how it’s done, including tips and tidbits that might make it easier for a novice cook like myself to pull off.
While the dish is cooking, we can sit down at your table and talk about the recipe.
Almost every recipe has a story behind it, a story worth sharing.
Has the recipe been passed down through your family from generation to generation? Did you find it on Pinterest while searching for a way to trick your children into eating more vegetables? Did a co-worker give it to you after you tried it at an office party?
This is a fun way to show off your culinary skills, while helping teach an amateur how to make a dish that’s not only edible, but delicious.
If you want to invite me to your kitchen, give me a ring at 704-797-7683 or send me an email at scampbell@salisburypost.com.

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