Cooking is, for me at least, relaxing. While I can remember fun experiences as a child, it was the discovery of making applesauce and gluten along with preparing a Super Bowl dinner with a good friend that created a thirst to spend time in the kitchen.
I would never represent myself as a brilliant chef. While I love watching cooking shows, I doubt I will ever participate except for comic relief. What I do know is that I love the process and, on occasion, things come together for a good meal.
With time, failures, and the advice of others, I have adopted a few mantras to improve my chances of success. They include the following.
Have a plan. Never rush into something without thinking about it. Themes, goals, ingredients, process, and openness are all critical elements to a plan. Any time invested in this step is useful.
One must remember that there is a process. Preparing something too far in advance is not helpful. Trying to bake with limited time when the oven is not ready is an exercise in frustration. Sequencing helps.
Listen to the ideas of others, especially with those that cook and love food. Candidly, it is always “better to be confronted by the Master now than to face a fiery confrontation later.” (1 Corinthians 11.32) Masters know what they are talking about! Ignore them increases your risks.
Ingredients, especially the best ones, make a fundamental difference. Sashimi quality fish tastes better. Fresh vegetables are often the X-factor in a great meal. Starting with the best always creates the opportunity for something amazing.
Technique is crucial. One can always learn. Watch, listen, and learn from what works as well as what does not. Little things make a difference. Using a sharp knife reduces the chance of cutting one’s self. With the right pan and fire on the stove, one is more likely to not burn the dish. Paying attention to the recipe improves your odds.
As I write, I can feel the desire to get into the kitchen growing. Today will be fun.