If you think simplicity is boring, you are wrong.
Yep, I said it… Simplicity is not boring, but it is damn hard to achieve.
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I see this at work everyday.
Inexperienced cooks adding, and adding, and adding more and more to their food.
I want to make this right by adding…
What if I added this…
Ooh, wouldn’t it be great if we combined…
Truth be told, I’ve succumbed to this pitfall over the years. Mostly when I was new to cooking. Sometimes just out of old habit. The myth is great chefs and cooks use a lot of ingredients, a lot of techniques to create their stunning food. The reality, most do it with fewer ingredients, and showing their mastery of one or two techniques. Simple is not boring. Simple is discipline.
The Rules of Engagement are as follows.
- Start with the end in mind.
I have heard this a lot lately when it comes to life, but it’s even more important when it comes to food. Knowing what you are trying to create determines what your ingredients are, what cooking method you choose to use, and what accompanying cocktail you should be drinking while cooking. (okay that last one’s more for pleasure)
- Cook Like a Food Network Star
Mise en Place, getting “everything in it’s place”, making sure “your shit’s wired tight” are all ways of saying have a plan and be organized. You’ve seen those people on The Food Network, with their pretty little pinch bowls of ingredients. They simply “dump and stir” their ingredients. Well guess what? That’s actually a pretty good way to cook.
The key is they are organized, which makes cooking a lot more fun.
If you are really new to cooking, read the recipe all of the way through, really read it. Understand what tools you might need, how to prepare ingredients before you start ‘cooking’. Set up your station.
- Remove three ingredients
Okay you have read the recipe, you know how many bowls and saute pans you need. Take a look at your ingredient list again. Remove three items. See how great you can make the food with three less items. Another way to look at this is to limit yourself to ‘X’ amount of ingredients if you are creating something new.
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