I have friends that can blow my mind with their ability to just KNOW what goes with what, how to use every spice in their spice cabinet (which is 10 times the size of mine and has spices I have never imagined). I often wonder how they acquired such a vast database of culinary collectiveness. Was it handed down for generations? Did they take an online course? Or were they just plain willing to eat nasty stuff until they got it right?

In any event, I have to say my mother is what I would consider a wonderful cook. We often had people over for dinner while I was growing up, and she was always complimented on the meal. The lack of leftovers backed that up. But she cooked simple meals; the kind many fancy schmancy chefs in top restaurants go home and eat for comfort food, just like the rest of us. (Please do not take any offense to my use of the word “Schmancy” if you are such a chef. I have the utmost respect for your skills – but let’s face it – if you’re just a fancy chef, you’re not that good – a REALLY good chef is both fancy AND schmancy! But I digress….)

While I have neither the time nor inclination to become an epicurean of the schmancy caliber – I mean, some of us just need to be appreciative eaters – I would like to expand my horizons. Living in an apartment, I was able to find a small sunny spot in which to start an herb garden. Never mind the lavender – I just have that for the smell (at least for now). I have a rosemary plant, a mint plant, and a basil plant. The later two were purchased yesterday from a big box department store, and I have them in these shallow bowls to hold out until I can find them a more permanent vessel in which to grow strong and healthy.

With a little water, a little sunlight, and a lot of love, our little herb garden may just contribute to a few fancy (but not schmancy) dinner parties.

For updated information on my culinary skills, see the post, “Learning to Cook With Spices“.

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