I did it. Chunky bean soup and beer bread from scratch. Be kind, all of you who could do this in your sleep... I know I hang out with folks who cook as easily as I tie my shoes, but this is a big paradigm shift for me. Many conditions had to line up perfectly for me to arrive at a place where I was attracted to the idea of cobbling ingredients together into tasty food. And here we are.
I'm chuffed and delighted to say that, well, it really tastes good. I think I'll start myself a notebook of "Yummy Things I Made Successfully Without Screwing Up." Then I'll have a collection of ideas to fall back on when the going gets rough, and my mind goes blank.
Thanks to everyone who sent me links to great resources. I got these two recipes from Farmgirl Fare - a blogger to whom I can relate as an agrarian sister. Here's the beer bread recipe and the soup recipe. These met my stringent specifications: few ingredients, non-fussy prep, and cheap. The bread recipe had the added benefit of requiring me to buy beer. Don't mind if I do.
The next phase of my transformation will be to start organizing some food plans so that I can have these basic, simple, affordable, real-food ingredients at the ready, and begin to get a feel for cooking intuitively. Then I will have arrived.