I learned this weekend that I have shitty stuff in the kitchen, especially when it comes to knives. I have one chef knife that is fairly new, but already quite dull because, and I didn't know this, I'm cutting on a glass board. Oops.
I've come to realize that the thing that gets me into food is making it myself. I think in the last two years the only thing I've really endeavored to make is a burrito. But it was a pretty exciting "discovery" to mix certain things and come up with what I did. The next incarnation may even involve, gasp, peppers!
But it was the toys that started to inspire me. A rice cooker, a method to warm tortillas (wet paper towel between them in the microwave)... pretty simple stuff really. Seasoning elements are like toys too. In this case, cilantro and salt. All very simple, but I get to create something, and that motivates me.
So when I learned that I had shitty tools, it made me realize that I'd probably be more motivated to experiment if I had better tools. This has been true in most other areas, like video (camera), podcasting (good audio gear, 81 episodes to date), computers (more code), vacuuming (Dyson, baby!)... and I'm sure I could come up with more examples. So it stands to reason that if I had better tools (or toys, if you will), I'd push my limits more with food.
I started reading up on knives as the first point of entry. Read some reviews, chose a starter set, and I'll be on my way. I'm going to hold off on cookware, because it's a whole lot more expensive, and I want to understand how to take care of it first. As much as I like to buy toys, I'd rather not buy toys I don't understand. Knives are a lot less expensive.
Partial motivation is my forthcoming party too, because I want to make some things that kick ass for my guests. I'm not a gourmet, but I can fake it a little.