Sweet Success with Leek Cooking

Cooking offers so much more than just some food we can eat to not be hungry anymore.  Like a sense of accomplishment.  That’s what I felt after cooking some leeks that were really good.

Successfully cooking leeks may not sound like much, unless you know all the hesitancy, and even anxiety, I felt about developing 20 leek recipes for the winter issue of Vegetable of the Month.  Would I ever get a feel for this vegetable?

Wondering if others feel hesitant, maybe even anxious, when faced with a new vegetable, I wrote an article in the winter issue, sharing the three strategies that helped me drum up the inspiration to tackle leeks.

First I flushed out the bogeyman that was scaring me away from leeks.  It was actually of my own making:  I had always been too lazy to learn the right way to cook leeks, so I kept cooking them the wrong way.  Quite predictably, the leeks tasted awful and I didn’t want to try them any more.

After dredging up that bogeyman, I forced myself to tackle it by researching the right way to cook leeks.

Finally, I drug myself out to the kitchen to experiment, and when I say “drug,” I mean exactly that.   The weight of so many bad taste memories was as good as a 50-pound anchor around my neck.  To my credit, however, I motivated us out to the kitchen, me and the anchor, and jumped knee deep into leek cooking.  But this time I slowed down and consciously cooked the leeks as I’d learned:  “sweating” carefully, over low heat, for not too long.

The result:  Sweet success, not only figuratively but literally.  Properly cooked, leeks have a sublime sweetness, hard as that is to believe.  This success has prompted me to add one more New Vegetable Strategy to the three in my article:

No. 4:  Learn Right From the Start

Learning to cook with leeks would have been a lot quicker and easier had I not been burdened by so much bad-taste baggage.  In this sense, I am reminded of my experience with downhill skiing.

I was “taught” to downhill ski by being dumped at the top of a hill along with some advice to ski down.  I was a horrible skier for years.  Although my husband eventually taught me to become a reasonably competent skier, I had to painfully unlearn all the bad form and habits I had fallen into and never did I acquire a real love for the sport.

Cross-country skiing, on the other hand, was a completely different story.  I got proper instruction right from the start, became pretty good and, most importantly, came to love the sport.

So don’t wait to learn the right way to cook vegetables, and especially don’t let any more distasteful eating experiences spoil your feelings for a vegetable.  Vegetable a Month is here to help you learn right from the start.

And here’s sweet success to you.


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