::cue terrible singing voice::
“It feels like hooome to me…”
Anyone who is close enough to me, or knows anything about me KNOWS I am at home in the kitchen. Anyone who has eaten something I have made has told me that I am really good at cooking and baking. I often get the “you should have a restaurant”, “teach me how to bake”, “how much would you charge me for —?”. My friends and family come to me for advice on food, recipes, to cook for them… and they all sort of just expect that what I do will be good.
I’m really not the bragging type so don’t go just yet. I have my moments but I also fail a lot too. Failure is the necessary path to becoming truly good at something. Sure, you can be naturally good at something, but you can’t be truly good at something until you know how to fail.
One of my best friends inquired from me how it is that I do what I do in the kitchen. How can I just – make things with such ease? How do I have such a carefree attitude and ability to create my own recipes, but still come out with really great tasting food most of the time?
Well, my answer to her was this…
I think those people who consider themselves to be “bad cooks”, or have trouble cooking are too caught up in the particulars of cooking. People get too scared, or worried. It really shouldn’t be THAT hard. I know, I know – sometimes people just genuinely don’t like to cook. Those people don’t put the effort in which can translate as cooking badly. Also, I myself sometimes get in a hurry, get lazy, or maybe I am just not in the mood to cook that day and my dishes can reflect that.
Don’t get me wrong, I am my own worst critic and I go through a period of “I hope its good” or “I hope I don’t poison someone” period of dramatic over analyzation every time I make something.
Cooking should be fun, laid back, go with the flow – not stressful. Yeah, sure, some of us have a knack for keeping our wits about us. To be good at gearing our brains towards troubleshooting when something doesn’t work out right in the kitchen(and in life) is a grand skill to have. But, the secret I have found is that even someone like that, like me, had to learn what to do from somewhere/someone too. We all start somewhere.
Where did you learn to DO that?!
I admit I must confess… that I had to get my techniques and ideas from somewhere else in order to learn them the first time. Seems kind of like common sense right? Like, you don’t just come out of the womb knowing how to whip up a batch of pancakes or roast a killer Thanksgiving turkey.
I didn’t just pull all these skills out of my a** each time… I had a lot of trial and error, and a lot of research too.
My uncle Google plays a big role in my education process, as well as my brief stint as a bread baker(still a little salty about the brief part, but that’s another story). Aaaand, I am fortunate that I have lived and grown up mostly in the age of the interwebs; where the almighty cooking “masters” have so generously shared their plethora of skills – easily at my fingertips.
No Guts – No Gain
So, my take on this whole being “good” or “bad” at cooking is nothing but guts, confidence, and bravery.
In sales, they say: No Guts? Then no gain. Success is found from having guts, and courage. Hope is good to have too, but hope is not the strategy. The same mindset applies to everything… even in cooking… ESPECIALLY, with cooking.
If you don’t bring it with you (to the kitchen), you aren’t gonna find your guts, or your confidence in there. ( no I am not talking about animal guts silly, yes you CAN find those in the kitchen sometimes).
Go Fearlessly And With Confidence Into The Forge.
It takes confidence to just try something out. To just…make that sh*t up as you go along and hope all turns out (within reason of course – like I said, hope shouldn’t be the strategy).
A dish doesn’t turn out the way you hoped, who the f*ck cares? If you had fun and didn’t blow your whole paycheck on ingredients – move on and try again later. You could always try to backpedal, to attempt to fix a problem with a dish. God knows how many times I have had to backpedal from a mess up. My first time making home-made mayo was … frustrating.
You wouldn’t believe how much the sales skills toolbox applies towards everything, even the kitchen. Like the submarine lesson (Don’t forget Joe!! – sorry, inside joke, I’ll explain later), or the importance of genuine curiosity, active listening, attitude… you get it so far… So, muster up that confidence and get cooking like a pro. Fake it ’till you make it if you gotta, ’cause you got this.