Two riffs on learning

Learning to cook

Back in March, I wrote about my disbelief at Britain can on average only cook 4.1 meals. I’m still adamant that this stat has got to be wrong, my brain won’t let me accept that people can have such a creativity lobotomy that they’re unable to put 3-4 ingredients together in a pan to make something vaguely edible.

Yet, in the past few days, I’ve heard enough conversation from otherwise very clever people (most of them anyways) to convince me that the unfortunate reality is as grim as The Scotman’s research described. I then watched one of my favourite podcast trainwrecks, otherwise known as Ctrl+Alt+Chicken, where Alex & Heather try to make Chicken Cordon Bleu and massacre the chicken, to say the least*. These people speak of Cooking (with a capital C) as a mystic, black hat Art, to which only select people are privy.

HELLO!? This isn’t Scientology. You don’t need to put 10 years of your life and a few million bucks to find the Truth. That’s simply NOT what cooking is.

The truth is that cooking is all about experimenting. I consider myself an excellent cook, but I still poopoo the occasional meal. I’ll make a dish which ends up too salty, slightly undercooked, too watery or contains some oddly-matched flavours. Does it matter? Nope! It’s never been such a failure that we’ve had to resort to takeaway menus, but yes, mistakes happen. It just means that the next time, I’ll have a better idea of how to pair flavours and how long to cook the dish for.

Learning to take on new projects

If cooking is about creativity, experimenting and watching closely for results, then it’s a whole lot like brewing up any new project, isn’t it? Except in the latter, you don’t get tomato sauce splattered all over your new white top.

New projects are all about leaving the known comfort zone, look at what others have done, and then take a different tangent. Keep it simple the first time if you’re nervous about it. Sometimes (often?) it’ll totally bomb, but if you clean up the war wounds and move on, one day, your experiment is bound to turn into an absolute chef d’oeuvre. Too many people seem to be holding back for fear of failure.

So whether it’s cooking or creating your own business, web app or clothing shop, get excited and try something new. I’m sure it makes life a whole lot better.

[* I’m really ragging on Ctrl+Alt+Chicken but they’re a laugh to watch, so if they ever read this, I hope they won’t take offense at my comments and let me buy them a beer if the occasion arises.]

2 thoughts on “Two riffs on learning

  1. pa

    Devine qui ‘cook’ ce soir..mercredi..Francine a dégelé les crevetes de Jo et louis ( en passant, ils vivent ici, le sous-sol est très beau, genre salon )..Elle m’a suggéré une recette que j’ai refilée à Joelle en disant ..Jo c’est ton tour de faire le souper…ET VOILÀ comment faire ..Délégué et enjoyé
    ..J’entends Lou qui dit..’Oups c’est trop dassaisonements..’
    Francine arrive de travailler.. elle va ‘checké’ leur progrès
    Bye bonne marche.. ( sourire) xx

  2. daryldarko

    I don’t know if I agree entirely with you. A certain amount of comfort in a kitchen needs to be acquired before one develops a sensibility about following recipes or creating dishes. And that only comes from successful experiences/cooking achievements. Also, if you do not enjoy the process of cooking, whatever dishes you fling on the table will show that. It is an art of love, not science.

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