Take Action—Cooking is a skill we must practice
March is a time of year I like to reflect. It’s my birthday month, and with every year we all look at where we have been and ask ourselves what’s next. Creating JoyFoodly is my great adventure. It’s my passion. I am driven to create a food culture in this country that is love, where diet is a dirty word and eating well is yummy and good for you. And for me, it all starts with the life skill of cooking. We must take back the overly scientific, non-cooking, full-of-weird-chemicals food system we have created. Our food mood this month is all about Taking Action and beginning to cook as a way of life.
I am a classically trained chef, but I have not always been a great cook. That came with time, patience, and loads of practice. I started to make cooking about my heart—cooking for those I love and want to teach instead of just trying to impress. It does help that I have always loved good food. I started life in a home where fresh veggies (some I grew myself!), homemade meals, and the structure of sitting down to a table were the norm.
Life has changed a lot in the last 40 years. The modern family has many demands and often an extreme lack of time. I have been that professional who worked 14-hour days and felt like cooking was the last “job” I needed when I got home.
Here’s the good news: cooking is a skill that can only improve the more you do it, but it takes that first experience to fall in love with the process. In this month’s Taste Talk Interview with Head Chef Alexander Ong of San Francisco’s beloved Betelnut Restaurant, we see that his first taste of cooking came when he took over stirring the curry for his mother. He was hooked for life, just helping with this one small but important task. You, too, can start small, and if you involve your children I guarantee they will be more likely to want to try and even enjoy your food creations.
So, when I blow out the candles this March 4th, I’ll make one wish for my JoyFoodly friends, colleagues, and family. I’ll wish that you might pick up your knives, spatulas, baking sheets, and farmers market shopping bags to start buying farm fresh ingredients and get cooking. I want to help you get started. So, check out our seasonal recipes this month for inspiration and learn cooking techniques that will save you time and get you cooking like a pro.
Here are a few of my own tips to start practicing the skill of cooking and living a JoyFoodly life:
Trust your instincts in the kitchen instead of listening to the doubt in your mind.
Your instincts will guide you, because you already know what good food tastes like.
Practice cooking with Joy.
Then practice some more! Cooking is a skill that becomes an art
when paired with passion and some good old-fashioned fun—explore, try new things, and get your kids involved.
Allow yourself to make mistakes.
I always tell the kids I cook with that “we are smarter than the food!” You can always fix it this time, and next time you’ll learn to do it differently. Have you watched Top Chef? Even chefs continue to make mistakes in the kitchen…but we keep on cooking.
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