Cooking and Basketball

The centerpiece of healthy diet is preparing your own meals at home.  The more you eat out, the less healthy you’ll eat.  Period.  So this week I’m dedicating the blog to posts about cooking at home.

 I’m no chef.  More like a marginally average home cook.  But I’ve learned how to feed myself at home without ordering in or burning down the house.  To start the week, I present how cooking is like basketball (or soccer, or tennis, or football, or golf, or…..).  Please forgive the metaphor overdose.

Dribble, Pass, Shoot (Learning the Basics)

As in sports you have to practice the fundamentals to get better.  If you were thrown into a full fledged game without being able to shoot or dribble you’d be, well, me in freshman basketball.  In short, you’d look like a fool.  Same thing applies to cooking. 

Oftentimes we jump right into a complicated dish without laying the groundwork first.  Cooking, like basketball, is something you learn by building a base of strong fundamentals that guide you when you try something new.

Rhythm is King (Timing is Everything)

Being in rhythm on the basketball court is often called being on fire.  Understanding how time and heat work to cook your food keeps you from actually being on fire.  I used to crank everything up to the max (stovetop, oven) when I cooked.  I figured, the higher the heat, the faster it cooks, the sooner I’ll eat.  I was certainly right.  I learned to love blackened grilled cheese.

Rarely is max heat the way to go. Managing your heat source and the time your food stays on that heat source is the most important part of cooking food to the correct doneness.  Learn the timing of these two influences on food and your meals will always be in the zone.  

Teamwork is King (Blending Tastes)

As you try new foods you’ll start to figure out what tastes good together.  Just like every team has different dynamic so does your impressions of how foods go together.  There is no one right combo of tastes that everyone will love.  Experiment and find what works for you.

When in Doubt, Run a Play (Follow Recipes)

When things get hectic on a basketball court, good teams slow things down and run a designed play.  Each person has directions on where to go and how to work together.  When you’re not sure what to do in the kitchen look up a recipe online (check back Wednesday for my favorite recipe sites).  Try it out.  It’ll give you a guide and likely teach you something new.

Just Play (Have fun!)

You’ve practiced the fundamentals, worked on your timing, developed team chemistry, and practiced running plays.  Now it’s time to play!  Relax and have fun!  Any athlete will tell you they’re at their best when just having fun.  Do the same in your kitchen.

And remember, unless you’re on the Food Network, cooking is not a competition.  Screwing up is ok, it’s how you learn.  What’s the worst that could happen?  Here’s where I’ll mention every kitchen should have a fire extinguisher within easy grasp…

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