I'm a fairly intelligent person, but there are some places I am nearly clueless. One of those is food, and especially food preparation. If it doesn't come off the plant ready to eat like a blueberry, or easily be found in a grocery store freezer in a pretty box I probably won't recognize it as food. If I am buying ingredients for a recipe I am not likely to know weather to look in the produce section, or the spice rack. I'm not even good at ordering from a menu because I don't know what even mainstream things are. I can't tell you how many times I have been on the verge of breakdown when I have found myself dragged into some restaurant where I couldn't identify anything on the menu, and when I asked what things were they described them in terms of ingredients I had not heard of.
I have probably learned more about food from my friends than my family.
I have grown tired of eating cold beans out of a can. I can say that I have at least tried to learn to cook. Last year I bought an expensive hard back vegetarian cookbook thinking that would be the answer to all my problems, but it seems to have turned into one giant dead end. Things are arranged by ingredient. Many of which I have never heard of, and even if I find something that looks interesting it is just part of a meal. How am I supposed to know what goes with what? The only way I would know was to look for the rare item where the author commented that it goes good with something else. Then I would look for something that also said it was "simple", or "quick", or "easy". I couldn't find ingredients at the store. Sometimes because what the author labeled them as, and what the package said were different. Sometimes because they didn't seem to be in the store at all, but I'm not sure of that because once I figured out what everything was it was usually all in the same store. And that "easy" meal took me what three, or four tries to get even mostly right? I practiced making the same dish over the course of a few weeks until I used up the ingredients I went to such lengths to acquire. On the fourth try I think I got it at least mostly right, but I also think it took me well over an hour to prepare this "simple dish".
Quite simply what I felt was only a minor accomplishment, had cost me tremendous effort, and that crushed my spirits. I haven't worked up the motivational drive to cook anything more ambitious than mac-n-cheese in a long time, and even that didn't turn out very good.
I can't live like this forever though. I seem to lose weight when I eat better quality food such as I find at a restaurant, or a complete meal I find in the frozen food case in the health food section, and gain weight when I eat anywhere else. I can't afford the financial costs of eating like this, but I can't afford to gain any weight either.
What I need is for a reasonably good cook to look at recipes, and tell me what goes together, and is Quick, and easy to make. Oh, and where I can find the ingredient, because I might not know what it is. My plan was to plan out a whole weeks worth of meals in advance so that I can buy everything at once, instead of driving someplace the moment I want it, or in a desperation of hunger buying a pound of jojo potatoes that have probably shared the deep fryer with things I don't dare eat.
Catherine (snarble) says she will help me with all of this meal planning stuff, but I am still willing to accept help from other people.