My first clear memory of actual cooking is a three course meal I made for my family - aged 8 and all by myself.
The other vivid memory I have from that age, is when I almost gave my granny a heart attack when I licked my plate clean in full public view at the posh hotel restaurant they stayed at every summer. You get the picture...
What are my cooking credentials, then? Ermm... none. I am a home cook just like you. But I have been fascinated by food and by cooking for as long as I can think.
I don't remember being taught how to cook so I must have just soaked it up from my environment. Growing up in Greece in the 70s, home-cooked food was simply normal, and even tavernas (the simple eateries you'd find everywhere) were more like home kitchens - it was actually customary to walk into the kitchen and look into the pots to choose what you wanted!
By the way, my dad is Greek and my mum is German; another lucky coincidence that meant I grew up multi-cultural and multi-lingual. So the concept of borrowing from different cuisines and mixing up everything - from ingredients in the same pot to languages in the same sentence - came practically built in.
Cooking - and eating - at home was a big part of growing up.
On weekdays, meals were very simple: soups, omelettes, peas and rice and things like that, whatever my working mum could rustle up in between shifts. But she had a knack for throwing in a bit of this and a bit of that and it always tasted exciting. On weekends, making food was always the most fun part, and there was a lot of it: There was shopping at the farmers' market, drooling over recipes, grinding of spices, and animated conversation at the dinner table. There were also occasional long lunches at tavernas trying to guess the ingredients of the most intriguing dish. Somehow, opening a family restaurant 'one day' became our insider joke - it still is. And almost 50 years later we still come together as a family around our shared interest (and enjoyment!) of food.
Somewhere in all that I honed my cooking intuition.
There should be no doubt: you can't develop intuition by reading about it. You have to touch it, chop it, taste it, live it, embody it, and let the practice and knowledge sink from the head to the heart - and to the belly.
But you don't have to get started as a toddler (although it helps, young parents take notice!)
You can start today. Embrace cooking - and eating - as the joyful adventure it is.
It's not rocket science, it's just dinner.