Eye of the Tyler: Ditch the TV dinners, bring on the cooking challenges

  • Monday, January 14, 2013

Eye of the Tyler columnist is diving headfirst into the land of cooking. A week ago, he made this eggnog cheesecake. Experienced cooks, do you have any suggestions for him?

Picture the famous evolution drawing, but replace that monkey fella with a symbol for cooking progression.
Letís use me Googling how to use a can opener at the beginning of the timeline. Then, weíll transform into me discovering the endless possibilities of boiling water. After that, thereís the mastering of cooking with grocery items not labeled pre-cooked. Finally, I finish at making things from scratch so often that Nilla Wafers turn into pie crusts.
When I moved to the Lowcountry in July, I relied on shoving pizza into an oven and microwaving Stoufferís meals for food. Calm down, Mom and Dad, Iíd buy fruit and veggies every now and then too.
Slowly, I began venturing away from the friendly confines of the frozen food section in the grocery store and experimenting with items requiring more than one step to prepare.
I found good buddies in the delicious Ė and incredibly easy to prepare Ė Pasta Sides packages. Iíll pause for a special shout out to parmesan and stroganoff for their tasty ways.
While they continue to visit my kitchen, Iíve since welcomed new visitors shortly after conquering those $1 pouches of pasta.
Eggs became omelettes, kielbasa links became sliced-up stroganoff complements and a can of pumpkin became pumpkin chocolate chip muffins.
In the cooking evolution chart, Iím starting to stand up Ė armed with a muffin pan and some non-stick spray.
During the past couple weeks, Iíve graduated to the non-rookie sections of online recipe utopias. Thereís a special satisfaction when you spend considerable time making something and it turns out just the way you hoped.
In past columns, Iíve acted as a macho sports guy who once called for Rory McIlroy to donate his PGA Championship winnings to me because I was his lucky charm. This isnít starting a trend away from that, although Iím definitely dropping the awkward ďmachoĒ reference from my vocabulary.
Iíll still challenge anyone to a basketball shooting contest, home run derby or any other display of mach Ė er, I mean superior Ė athletic ability. But, I hope you donít mind if I bring a couple slices of my homemade eggnog cheesecake.

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