Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anybody Can Cook!

I was 19 when I got married, pretty young and very inexperienced. When it came to cooking, I had a lot to learn! When I was sharing this with my Grandma she said, "Jenie, I have been married for 64 years and I still have flops in the kitchen." Ohmygod, this was a revelation! My Grandmother was the best cook ever, and to think there were still things she made that didn't turn out!?! WHEW! That was a new beginning for me.
Then I went on to college and into food research. I found making dinner is like having a 1/2-one hour food science lab everyday. Sometimes your lab experiments turn out and sometimes, they don't. You evaluate the end product (eat it) and decide whether or not it's worth trying again.
I have gone on to write cookbooks, have dinner parties for 40+ people, teach countless people to cook and still manage to have fun making meals. I have been known to never "try" a recipe before company comes. When people come to my house for dinner, they know they may be guinea pigs and try something never been tried before. My philosophy is, if it doesn't turn out, there will be more food tomorrow. Somehow I am not worried people will starve if this meal isn't particularly to their liking (plus there are usually enough other things to eat, they can avoid the one item they don't care for.)
On the flip side of this, if someone cooks for you, compliment them. If you don't care for it, let them know in a nice way it may not be your favorite and why, was it something that you basically liked but this time was too spicy, or do you flat out hate the food? The compliments should outnumber the criticisms about 100 to one, or plan on start doing the cooking yourself! Relax, enjoy the experience.
If anyone tells me they can't cook, what they are really saying is, "I haven't tried." Anybody can cook. Give it a try, it's fun, creative and you get to eat it. There are no failures in the kitchen, only successes, to a greater or lesser degree.
Start your kids cooking early. Preparing healthy things to eat is a basic life skill. Put up with the messes, be prepared to taste strange things and short of poisoning, never say they can't add one ingredient or another, let them figure out what tastes good and what doesn't. Always, no matter what, let them know it is THE BEST you have ever had! They'll learn.
Bon apetit!

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