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Some people have skeletons in their closet,

I have HEROS in my kitchen.

I have 2 small Wonder Woman action figures on top of my stove.  My idol is with with me every time I cook, but Marvel and DC aren't the HEROS to which I'm referring in the (somewhat random) cooking stories that I plan to share here.  My HEROS don't have capes - they have lids, directions, ingredient lists, most are dishwasher safe, and all have been a bit life-changing - yes, I said it - for me.  Hacks, Equipment, Recipes, Organization and Storage - my HEROS are the reason I truly love to cook. Love love, really.

Many years ago, I was hosting my first large family gathering in my new house.  I tried my hand at a roast beef, and I was super excited, until I realized I couldn't slice it properly (I need beef sliced super thin - it's a texture thing).  I panicked, I thought I had planned the whole meal perfectly.  I bought an inexpensive electric knife to tackle the task, and it did ok, but after all that work it sucked to end the evening feeling deflated. Along comes Mom to the rescue - she and dad were ALWAYS "invest in good tools" people, and it was definitely a learning moment for me.  She bought me the Cutco Carving Set, and it was love at first slice.  


I instantly knew what "the right tools for the job" meant.  Those Cutco knives created an incredible transformation in me (and I'm still incredibly loyal to Cutco as a result - you'll see!). The right tools immediately made me realize that NOT ONLY did they help the end product be something very rewarding, but that the cooking process was FUNNNNNNNNNN, and therefore something I looked forward to doing - even if I wasn't quite good at it yet.  Those weeknight meals weren't filled with quite so much dread, and the tools motivated me to start small and learn.  What I didn't anticipate was Mom using the opportunity to also lure me into her kitchenware "addiction!" Mom fed me a steady "diet" of gadgets, gizmos, recipes, and storage containers - and I was a very willing victim!  But, over the years, I have made the passion and the process - and my kitchen landscape - my own.  


But wait, there's more... (see what I did there?!)


Many years later, my love of the cooking process has grown.  I have learned that the right tools help prep and prepare foods with both simplicity and precision, AND perhaps most importantly, cooked food tastes better because it's been prepped properly - a perfect example of a win-win.  All of those elements coming together is so incredibly satisfying for me - kinda like watching those mesmerizing videos of icing added to cakes - so this is the part of the story that's perhaps the most important and surprising yet a little hard to put into words.  A mental health counselor once observed and told me that doing something creative each day had a very obvious and positive impact on my mental well being, so when I hit a loneliness low a year ago, I turned to cooking to help manage the blues.  These HEROS elevated from process tools to creativity and self-expression enablers, and helped me cook my way to mental strength and confidence, a situation I never could have imagined when I first touched those Cutco knives.  Cooking with HEROS is truly very therapeutic for me.  The universe certainly works in mysterious ways.


So here we are... over the years, I have become a pretty decent cook, and have amassed quite a team of HEROS. And since I am most definitely one of those people that just won't shut up when I discover something that transforms the process for me - and then transforms ME as a result - I started this blog to share and discuss all my HEROS in the hopes that they also inspire creativity and expression in others. Plus documenting this journey - complete with visuals, recipes, and weekly menus - further fuels my own creativity and expression - so it's admittedly a bit self-serving!  But my wish is sincere... I hope YOU enjoy the content and discover the HEROS in your own kitchen - and 'assemble' them to fall in love with YOUR process and YOUR mental well being too!

Ann Marie

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