About The Distracted Cook

On December 31, 2009 I retired as a shop owner. After years “in the business” I decided it was time to leave the rigors and confining schedule of the retail world as I knew it in my custom linens store. I had weathered the storms in New Orleans in 2005 and moved the shop to Baton Rouge. Now it was time to change venues completely. As an enthusiastic home cook, I was consumed by the “creative bug” and looked for ways to see things from a different perspective. I have always known that thinking outside the box was just a normal part of my life.

The one constant in all my past endeavors has been my Attention Deficit Disorder and its effect on my life and how I live it. What I thought was normal operating procedure for cooking was different from what I discovered most everyone else did when they were in the kitchen. It took a formal diagnosis for me to realize that I just didn’t see or do things like most people do!

I never thought about how people cook a meal. Perhaps they start with a list of groceries they have compiled after deciding upon the recipes for the day. Well, that sounds like a great way to handle it, but it has never really worked for me.

I do have quite a collection of recipes and I use them a lot. And I think that I remember them really well. But truthfully, I DON”T remember them, nor do I bother to re-read them and make a list of ingredients. I just try to remember what I have in the pantry and then hit the grocery aisles.

You can imagine how it goes from there: lack of ingredients at home, lots of exciting things on the grocery shelves that jump into my cart, trying to find the recipe, and being open to anything that comes along that sounds just as good as what I started out to make. Fun, but not very efficient.

This is how it used to be, on a daily basis, in my kitchen. But more recently, I now do what the psychologists advise for ADD, and that is to utilize compensatory skills. That just means making lists and not just grocery lists. It means grouping things in my kitchen and pantry in ways most cooks would find mind-boggling.

Now, when I talk to myself and ask such things as, “Now, where did I put the brown sugar?” I can answer myself as well. “Of course! I put it on the shelf next to the cinnamon and ginger because I use them together most often.” It works!

But wait, will I need the cardamom too? Where did I put that?”
And so it goes. I am never bored in the kitchen.

In this blog I will write about recipes, ideas and advice that have become a working part of my kitchen and that have helped me become a good cook. I now not only manage to read and follow recipes but I can look a pantry square in the face and conjure up dishes of my own origination! This is where the creativity comes into play and this is where the fun lies. I am able to use my particular skills and unique “frame of reference” in testing recipes for some widely read websites and cookbook authors.

When I am testing a recipe I am especially careful to read it and re-read it. And then I make notes starting with the list of ingredients. For me, some of the most common terms in the directions are confusing. My literal interpretation is often more comedic than accurate. Trying to follow a recipe to the letter has proven to be the supreme test for my methods of staying “on point” and not getting lost between the lines.

Many of the recipes that I now use on a frequent basis have evolved from ones that were complete mysteries to me at the start. I will share the many ways that I have found to make cooking and being in the kitchen an enjoyable as well as successful thing to do for those of us who are “ADD.”  And for everyone else, I hope you will enjoy visiting with The Distracted Cook.