Friday, August 2, 2013

Stop Watching the Food Network and Cook

I have never been one that really enjoyed cooking. There is no relaxation in it for me. It is more of a hassle than anything else. I prefer the quick and easy. If it takes too long or too much effort I have to really have a hankering for it.

However, even though I don’t like to cook, I know how to cook… I guess there was a purpose to those Home Economics classes in middle school (I can sew too). Of course, I can’t overlook the value of watching my mom pull dinner together quickly when I was younger… just goes to show how much you can learn by simply observing (even when you’re not really paying attention). I know how to follow recipes and I know how to wing it (my preferred method). Many of the dishes that come out of the kitchen may not look the most appetizing but they taste good and, in the end, that is what counts.

The fact that I am able to do this, and do it in a relatively short period of time, seems to baffle my wife. She has asked me to teach her how to do it but, honestly, I don’t know exactly what to tell her. At least nothing that would constitute “how to” type of instructions.

It is more a few simple guidelines which support a general cooking philosophy. Essentially it comes down to this… learn about what spices and herbs go together and with what, experiment, and, in the beginning, don’t give a crap if the results taste like crap. As you learn what works together and what doesn’t, you will be able to throw almost anything together with ease.

Once you get this down and things start tasting pretty good then you can focus on the best ways to cook different items to make them better. This really is trial and error. Some methods will work and some won’t. What works for someone else may not be the best method for you. Some people are excellent at working a grill but can’t use an oven or a frying pan while others are comfortable in the kitchen but fail miserably when trying to be a backyard chef.

Find what works for you. Know your strengths and weaknesses. And don’t be afraid to share the cooking duties with someone who may be better at cooking a particular item than you are. There is no such thing as too many cooks in the kitchen if each person has a specific job to do.

This is how I cook. What is your method in the kitchen? Are you more like Julia Child or the Swedish Chef?