Cooking and Brain Surgery

Regularly cooking meals at home is a cornerstone of healthy eating.  More home cooking means less salt, fat, and calorie loaded restaurant fare make it to your waistline.  But cooking at home can be intimidating.   (And pushing buttons on the microwave doesn’t count.)

That’s when following a recipe is helpful.  It serves as a step by step guide to take you from frozen dinners to Guy Fieri.  But following a recipe can be also be stressful.  And it’s certainly more time consuming than pushing “express cook”.

It takes patience to carefully measuring out half a cup of milk or 3 teaspoons of chopped parsley so our dishes (fingers crossed) are not just edible, but enjoyable.

Here’s the problem: We’re confusing baking with cooking.  For the former it is absolutely necessary to measure your ingredients precisely.  The latter works better when you wing it.

Brain Surgery and Surfing

One requires precision, patience, and a steady hand.  The other requires the ability to let loose and hang ten.  They require two entirely different sets of skills.  This is baking versus cooking.

If you obsess when cooking over precise measuring, you’re simply bringing the wrong skills to the job.  A brain surgeon can certainly be a good surfer, but I’d prefer if he lost the board shorts before scrubbing in.

Do This Now, Be a Better Cook

Relax and wing it.  Use a recipe as a guide or idea generator and then make it your own.  (Hint: Taste before serving to your in-laws.  Adjust accordingly.)

Be warned, you’ll mess up.  You’ll over salt or under puree.  But you’ll learn.  Then you’ll mess up some more.  I should know.  I jacked up my last batch of scallops after proclaiming I had mastered their prep.

Overconfidence is apparently also a bad thing while running a stove.



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