You must be imaginative, strong-hearted. You must try things that may not work, and you must not let anyone define your limits because of where you come from. Your only limit is your soul. What I say is true – anyone can cook… but only the fearless can be great. – Gusteau in Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille
I am not an amazing cook. I frequently overcook chicken and my hollandaise sauce almost always breaks. I lack the culinary vision that great chefs possess and frequently cry in awe and envy when presented with artful dishes, which I myself could never have thought of. I have an underdeveloped palate and a worthless sense of smell.
Is it weird that I envy that little cartoon rat for his highly developed palate and culinary genius?? I do. I really do.
But, I LOVE to cook. I cook often. I’ll attempt anything. What’s the worst that will happen? It’ll be a little overcooked? Maybe a bit mushy or burned? Overseasoned? Big Whoop! That’s right! Big. Whoop. Keep a frozen pizza in the freezer and try again next time. I remember looking through a cookbook when I was about 13 years old and spotting a recipe for Baked Alaska. Hmmm…ice cream in the oven?? This was a challenge I couldn’t resist. So I whipped up some meringue, coated the ice cream as directed and popped it in the oven. The result was a tray full of melted ice cream. I was devastated. What had I done wrong? I’d followed the recipe step by step, but it was a total flop. I haven’t tried to make Baked Alaska since that time, but it doesn’t mean I won’t try again in the future.
Cooking, much like doing anything unfamiliar, is about being fearless. Just hold your breath and jump.
Anyone can cook. I love that!
I’ll be offline for a few days, celebrating a dear friend’s wedding! In the mean time…Go forth and cook! Be fearless and eat well!
My favorite part of this post is your first line, Amy. “I am not an amazing cook.” Come to my house and eat my not amazing food. Food such as: steak salad, pomegranate glazed roast turkey, blue cheese burger bites, lamb burgers.
What is it about those amazing dishes you see and taste that strikes you? For me I’m always on the lookout for combining flavors in new and intriguing ways. At Rosalie’s I have to be careful because the general customer wants classic food (protein, starch, vedge, sauce on a plate). But I’ll sneak in an orange rhubarb sauce now and then to hopefully change their perspective. A coffee reduction sauce I made last year was one of my favs, despite barely selling at all. It was genuinely delicious.
From the food of yours I’ve eaten I’d say you’re already on par with many chefs in America (beyond a great deal of them, actually) and you don’t spend 10+ hours 6 days a week cooking.