I have always taken it for granted that everyone could cook if they tried. As a small child, we 'helped' Mum in the kitchen and an early memory is of my sister and I using an old fashioned mincer to grind cold roast lamb to make Shepherd's Pie. Later, both L and I cooked at home as kids (although I don't recall the sister who became a chef doing much in kitchen!). At high school, Home Economics was offered as an arts option and, as I was complete rubbish at traditional art subjects, I quickly took this up and stuck with it as long as it was offered (four years at our school, in those days). I don't remember being a top student but I did well, managed the curriculum without any problems and remember making a rather impressive decorated fruit cake for my grandparents' 50th wedding anniversary. However, recently speaking to an older woman about her plans to make a cheesecake for a special occasion, I realised that maybe cooking isn't something that comes naturally to everyone, and some people are very nervous about making things that I had always thought of as straightforward. So I'm now not so judgemental and am perhaps starting to see my ability to cook well and do what seem to be the more advanced things, such as making pastry from scratch, as a skill, rather than something fairly standard.
On getting married and shortly thereafter enrolling for university, and subsequently spending many years studying part time, Stos became the chief cook and remains so to this day. He is a good cook and also gets home earlier than I do, so it makes more sense for him to be in charge of the kitchen. But I do enjoy cooking and generally make one meal a week. I love to hold dinner parties and when we need to take a 'plate' to an event, I will always put my hand up to make a cake or dessert, as the sweet stuff is what I prefer to make. And recipe books - well, I have more than I will ever use, but love flipping through them looking for inspiration.
So while this isn't a simple pleasure for some, it is for me and even though I don't cook a lot, I enjoy it when I do. In fact, while I'm at home on leave, I plan to on trying out more recipes from America's Test Kitchen, my current favourite series of books, and hope that they continue to be hits, just like this delicious lemon bundt cake.