As a professional cook, my job is to make tasty food. Period. Somedays things don’t go as you hope and you have to fix it, in the quickest, cheapest way possible. I’ve done it many times. The goal is not to have to fix things, but the reality is it happens. Mistakes are made, something-equipment, ingredients-doesn’t respond as they should and still food must go out to the guest. So we learn to remedy sauces with cornstarch, add sugar/vinegar/seasonings to make a dish delicious even when it’s not quite what was intended. I’ve shown up for jobs found out there are ten different unplanned special meals needed and had to create something that fit the theme of the event for each of them (it’s helpful when there’s a dry erase board so I can create a chart in those situations!).
At home I use those skills too. My downfall in cooking in adhering to a recipe. My special power is looking in a fridge or cupboard and creating something tasty out of anything. When I teach a class, students want to know how the recipe works or what is the technique they should use: the reality is I spend so much time cooking by feel I don’t always know. So when I cook at home it is occasionally, interesting. My sweet children have almost stopped asking, “mom, what is it?” When casually asked to try something I’ve prepared. Their once picky tastes have expanded to include a decent array of flavors. They however hold firm to their opinions of texture and disdain of most cooked vegetables.
This week I’ve had some down time and I’ve been cleaning out the freezer/fridge/cupboards at home, which has resulted in some delicious brownies (two versions, as usual Baking with Julia had the better recipe), and a mediocre banana cake. That was a combination of equipment fail, mistake, and inability to adhere to a recipe situation. Definitely on the, I’ll try it again list though.
The best part of this week is I’ve been in a rut as far as experiments go, and now…I feel inspired to read some new cookbooks, try some new ideas, and keep working on improving my ability to adhere to a recipe. Failure is always an option, because that is how we learn.
Here’s to pushing through and learning!