I believe in sharing. Sharing information. Sharing resources. Sharing memorable moments. And when you think about it. Cooking is sharing. You might be preparing a family recipe, handed-down from Grandma; you might be sending a friend to a helpful website to find a recipe worth trying, or you might be preparing a meal that will be enjoyed by good friends or loved ones.
Cooking is really about the process, not what ends up on the table. So it sometimes baffles me when I hear about friends who are “afraid” to try a new recipe or test a different technique. There’s really nothing to lose by venturing beyond your comfort level in the kitchen, and there’s so much to gain, including bolstered confidence, a broadened repertoire and maybe, a good story to tell at your next party.
I asked my friend, Personal Chef Bob Parrinello, if he encountered individuals who had hesitation to go beyond their current skill set, and he replied, “All the time. That’s why the TV Food Network is so successful. It’s sometimes easier to watch and imagine, than take a bold step in the kitchen by yourself.”
So, in the spirit of keeping you cooking, trying new foods, ingredients and recipes, here’s a motivational (and helpful!) guest entry from Chef Bob …
“I hear so often that people are reluctant or even afraid to cook something new. I can appreciate fear of the unknown and I can even see how fear can be rational and positive for us. On the other hand I see how fear can be debilitating and reduce our options and abilities.
Some will say, “Just don’t be afraid.” If it was that easy, you probably wouldn’t still be reading. My advice is to manage the situation so the fear of failure is reduced, managed or even eliminated by thinking or planning ahead.
Hear are some examples. Let’s say new people are coming to dinner. Simply cook that with which you are most comfortable. Even a simple meal is a home run if it’s tasty. (Breakfast for dinner for example. No fear on familiar ground.)
Perhaps, friends or relatives are coming over for an occasion. If you’re worried about over-doing a roast, make two! Put the second roast in 15 minutes after the first. If the first is overdone take the second out immediately, let it rest 5 minutes and serve. By the way, investing in a high tech cooking thermometer is worth every penny. No fear through good tools.
You may also be trying out a new recipe on your significant other. Maybe it’s part of a new, healthier diet. Get in the frame of mind that you will make it twice no matter what. If you love the results you will certainly make it again. If it’s not to your liking the reason will be apparent, and you won’t make the same mistake next time. But you should commit to a next time or you won’t grow. Besides, you can always order a pizza thirty minutes before your recipe would be ready. If your recipe is great, freeze the pizza. There’s no fear by planning a backup!
So, here’s to good eating and more confidence in the kitchen!
Personal Chef, Bob Parrinello