Cooking Myth #2: Every Dish Must Be A Masterpiece.

March 26th, 2007 by Jeff in General Cooking

For those who really enjoy cooking, there is a trap we can all fall into. It is natural to have pride in your creations but sometimes too much of a good thing is not good. The home cook who tries to make a culinary wonder every day is going to find it becoming tiring work. Many of the greatest dishes require a lot of preparation and contain quite a few steps. Finding an extra hour or two in a single day can be challenging enough, but 7 days a week is extremely demanding.

There is also the question of cost. Many of the great recipes out there call for ingredients that are more expensive than your average meal. It may be enjoyable to prepare prime rib, but is it economically justifiable? There are many times when the cost of one great meal could have paid for three or four standard dishes.

Some get the feeling that if they just slap up a meatloaf, people will question their culinary prowess. Now I am not saying you should serve meatloaf at your friends twenty five year anniversary party, but when your home with the family after a long dreary Wednesday, don’t worry if you only have enough energy to bread up some pork chops, prepare instant potatoes, open a can of corn, and make a dinner in about fifteen minutes.

Remember, although cooking is an art form, it is also a necessary part of life. Just like when an author gets writers block, there are times when you just do not want to create. Unfortunately, you still need to eat during these periods.

Some of the harder skills to refine are those involving making something that is easy, quick, and yet edible. I remember when I was a child my mother could whip through the kitchen in a fashion that almost made you breathless watching, and come up with food that my brother and I had no complaint over. Was it a masterpiece? Of course not, but it was good enough for me and allowed us to spend more quality time together.

There is also the bigger picture here. If your passion becomes a chore, sooner or later you will cease to enjoy it. How many great cooks have you known that you talk with many years later and they tell you that they do not cook much anymore because they tired of the task? Perhaps they cooked for a large family and worked a full time job. They tried to create wonderful dishes every night and in the process lost all that time with their loved ones. Now all of that experience sits dormant and unless the spark is lit again, it will pass away forgotten.

The lesson here is to cook great when you want, and if you don’t have the time or the energy, don’t beat yourself up. A simple meal is still a meal. Even Picasso probably painted a wall plain white when he just needed his wall painted. Cooking is not only an outlet for your passion and creativity, it is a necessary chore in life, manage it like any other. People will not dismiss your future recipes if you make a time tested easy meal more often than the great ones.

Next Myth: I Don’t Have Professional Hardware, Therefore I Cannot Cook


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