I think I’m finally getting it.
There were distinct stages in my adult cooking life that I imagine might resonate with other people who have lived away from home, as a student or young professional might.
I do think age (maturity) has something to do with it, but I will add that I have personally been influenced to move from Stage 2: Sufficiency to Stage 3: Exploration partly by the constant bombardment from cookery programmes on British telly.
As a young, beardless-and-wispy-mustachioed student I survived on eggs, sausages and chips. Necessity demanded I fuel this internal combustion engine, and therefore by necessity fuel was dumped in.
I then gradually bothered (NOT learnt; I have been cooking since I was a child) to graduate to delicious recipes that would suffice for me; an arsenal that would last a 7-day siege, sufficient to my needs.
But cookery programmes, a genre I used to scorn, have seeped into my conscience. Not, mind you, the stupid reality formats. But travel cookery, starting with the inimitable Keith Floyd, really piqued my curiosity when I saw them presented with a real harmonious view of food-as-culture. I don’t yet claim to know Mediterranean rustic cooking, for example, yet the mention of ‘oregano’ evokes such memories within me of scrambling in the Dolomites that I sense an urge to explore food in this light.
Anyways, my rustic sage and oregano chicken casserole will be ready soon (I get real itchy fingers with oven cooking where I can’t keep poking and fiddling with the dish) so hope you all have a good din din.