I regret not learning how to cook during those formative years when my mom tried to teach me. I really blew it. My mom, my ITALIAN mom, my mom who could put an incredible meal together when there was absolutely nothing in the house, wanted to teach me how to cook – AND I WAS NOT INTERESTED. I, instead, was interested in sports – any sport. I much preferred playing football with the boys over making a meat loaf or cooking a pot roast. The irony is now I love to cook. The challenge is every time I do it’s a major event. Why? Because I never learned those standard cooking tips that seem to come naturally for good cooks.

Case in point: Tonight I decided to try my hand at my first vegetarian dish. I made Indian Chole or chickpea and potato curry. The recipe called for a small piece of ginger. Are you kidding me? What the heck is a small piece of ginger? Have you ever seen ginger roots? They come in a variety of shapes and sizes. One person’s “small” is another person’s “gargantuan.” My only benchmark is I know I don’t like much ginger on my sushi because of the strong taste so I cut a small piece (3/4″) off the end of the root. Before I did that, however, I had to go on to find out how you actually use ginger root in a recipe. Is it wrong that I’m 48 years old and didn’t know that you have to peel the skin off the root?

It’s all good. I learned about ginger roots and my chole turned out very tasty! This recipe has earned a spot in my “Peace Corps Recipe Portfolio.”

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