Cooking is a sensual experience, and you really should allow all your senses full play. Enjoy the feel of the ingredients, observe what is happening, taste as you go along and drink in the heady smells that arouse your anticipation. Then, when you set everything on a plate, even if it’s just for you—or especially if it’s just for you—make it pleasing to the eye, adding a little color to brighten, if needed.
I feel that the language of recipes should reflect the visceral nature of cooking and invite you to participate more fully, rather than have you slavishly follow a formula. That’s why I use expressions like “pinch of salt,” “a splash of wine,” “a sprinkling of parsley,” and “a fat clove of garlic,” “a handful of spinach leaves.” You don’t need to measure that wine precisely. Splash some into the hot pan, let it cook down, if indicated, then taste. It’s a waste of time and too fussy to stuff that bit of chopped parsley into a tablespoon to make sure you have the “right” amount. There are times when exact measures are important, particularly in baking, but even then beware of trying to prepare a bread dough with such rigid precision, because the water content of flour can vary considerably. The only accurate guide is your hands: whether the dough feels too sticky or too wet.
I hope that the flexibility I’m encouraging will help you enjoy a more relaxed ease in cooking. Get the feel of a teaspoon of salt by measuring it into your hand before throwing it into the soup pot. Next time, you won’t need the teaspoon measure: your hand will tell you the amount. And the more confident you get, the more you will be encouraged to experiment, to try out your own variations of some of these recipes and play with ideas of your own. Cooking for one can be particularly challenging, because often you’ll find yourself wanting to reduce receipes for a large number of people to a single portion. so you need to use your wits and imagination. And if it doesn’t work perfectly the first time, try again.
“Coach instilled in his athletes a trait that I have not seen repeated in any other professional culture: Coach believed that the moment you learned something, you had the responsibility to teach it to others.”—Greg Amundson (via forcedistancetime)
“Every act of conscious learning requires the willingness to suffer an injury to one’s self esteem. That is why young children, before they are aware of their own self-importance, learn so easily; and why older persons, especially if vain or important, cannot learn at all.”—