So my mom and the rest of my family view my recently acquired interest in cooking with confusion and no small amount of suspicion. I'm not sure what caused it - perhaps the realization that Indian food is nearly impossible to find in Istanbul, perhaps finding plentiful and cheap produce right outside my door. Maybe it was an attempt to impress Eric, or maybe I was trying to channel my aunt Gail and keep the baking traditions alive. Whatever the cause, I like being able to make something that people want seconds and thirds of. I find some small bit of zen satisfaction in slicing up onions and ginger and tomatoes after a stressful day at work. I've gotten to the point where I don't always feel hidebound by recipes: I add spices that I think will go well with something, or I fiddle with the amounts listed to suit my tastes. I'm not quite ready to create my own recipes, and I still need a few friends to whom I can direct all cooking questions. (Aside: one should always have a friend who is willing to look over the recipes you find and tell you how to improve them. Recipes in magazines can always be improved by someone with a master's touch.) But last night, I posted my first recipe onto a website affiliated with a community website I use, and having noticed a sad lack of Arab and Turkish dishes on there, I think I can tell what my contribution to the site will be.
At the end of the day, no matter how much I confuse my family, I've noticed that they ask for seconds when I cook dinner for them. That's a compliment I'll take to heart!