Good cooking is about adventure. It’s about having an idea and running with it until it’s delicious. It’s about trying out a technique/recipe you’ve never tried before. I know, you’ve heard it all before, but don’t worry, that’s not what this post is about. This post is about Failure.
Failure is good, Failure is how you learn ingenuity. Failure teaches you how to be creative. Some of the best ideas out there are because someone failed when they couldn’t and just had to make it work. In the beginning, Failure is devastating. It makes you think you shouldn’t be doing this in the first place, just call someone to bring you food. Rehearse the line: ‘I can’t even boil water’ until you can say it with the right amount of humor. Here’s a secret, most mistakes can be fixed or at least salvaged. Over salt a soup? Peel a potato, cut it into chunks and simmer until the potato is well cooked. The potato can suck up a lot of salt, I’ve saved many a dish with that technique. Or serve the soup over rice. If something comes out too spicy, add cream, sour cream or plain yogurt. Yes, sometimes it’s ruined and there’s nothing you can do about it, it happens. Write down where you went wrong and start over again. You’ll get it.
I find it reassuring to remember that people have been doing this since we stood up and walked. It’s not hard, put food in/on fire, pull out when done. If it doesn’t turn out the way you want, try something else. One of my favorite mistakes is my wonderful creation French Toast Pancakes. Here’s how you make them. Take a pancake, dip it into French Toast batter and fry it again. It’s delicious. I came up with the idea during a busy breakfast shift when I dropped a pancake that I really needed to serve into the french toast batter. I quickly grabbed it, threw it back onto the griddle and put it on the bottom of the short stack. It smelled delicious and my Sous Chef and I made ourselves a couple as soon as we could. You get the idea. Recipes are guidelines, most of the time I just think of something I want to eat, then figure out how to make it. Sometimes I get it on the first try, most of the time I don’t. Take criticism, improve, innovate, that’s the way to cook. Hell, it isn’t a bad way to live, either.