Saturday, December 19, 2015

On the importance of learning to cook

Back in junior high we had cooking classes. With the benefit of hindsight I now know what was all that about. Those classes were not primarily taught for the student to fix himself something when hungry, but to develop discipline and to learn how to follow orders. Some, or maybe the greater part of us, want to go our own way and particularly at that age. Following a cooking recipe demands, not only attention, but the suspension of one's own wants and idiosyncrasies. The recipe is tried and true, has clear concepts and a step by step process. If one just follows the steps as given, the results are there anyone to see and taste. Immediate feedback, cause and effect and consistent results are the name of the game. By just trying, mavericks can see the results of their actions, and begin to adapt themselves to circumstances that demand, as said, discipline.

Emeril and star chefs can get away with adding extra salt, garlic, or whatever (Bam!), because they already have mastery on their craft and know the limits of the elements they working with.  Mastery comes from discipline and only then one is allowed to push the bounds of the art.

There's also the part of shared experience. Much like in sports there's a meeting of minds in cooking. Having watched played in team sports or at least watched, one can make one's point across or get by having actually gotten one's hands into the  thick mess of things. 


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