I decided to start using Facebook again a few months ago and since then, my account seems to have devolved into what is now purely my cooking adventures. I’m not sure how it got like that.
Anyhow, cooking isn’t easy for me. Actually, cooking may be one of the most difficult skills for me to get into. It’s not the cooking itself I’m bad at, it’s everything else that comes with it. This isn’t an exhaustive list of the obstacles I face, but I’ll give you an idea of what I mean when I say I’m bad at everything but the cooking itself. Ingredients come in lists; instructions come with numbers. For most people, this makes cooking easy enough for people to make sense of. Not me though. To me, a list still comes across like a book with no chapters or page numbers. It’s like a never-ending paragraph, which makes referencing a nightmare to do. If I were to go through every ingredient in the list one by one, I’d still manage to miss something by the end of it all.
I kept at it though. There’s this drive I have which makes me want to cook. I have a general tendency to assume I’m on my own with everything in life, yet I’ll act and move as if I were in a team. In terms of cooking, I assume that no one’s going to be there to cook for me, that I’ll have to go out of my way to cook for everyone else. In reality though, both my wife and I cook, and I’ll encourage my children to join in and help. Not only that, but both my wife and mother are amazing cooks, so I’m taking advantage of this and taking lessons from them when I can, so I kept at it again and again whenever I had the will and time to try.
As the years went by, I came to pick up on a few personal tricks to make cooking easier for myself. When learning about myself, I learnt that bright colours make something stand out. If I placed a box near the front door and left all the stuff I needed to go out with there, I was more likely to notice it and so less likely to forget anything as I went out. I’ve been trying to cook for like more than ten years. Meanwhile, I probably learnt about the use of colours to make something stand out for myself about half that time ago. However, it only occurred to me within these most recent months that I could’ve used this to my advantage whenever I was taking note of a recipe.
As an Example, this is what I do now
Instruction No. 1
Add sugar, baking powder and salt to a bowl. Right. Make some space in the recipe book for the ingredients at the beginning, then write down the this first instruction in green. Sugar, baking powder and salt: have its details written in the ingredients in green too.
Instruction No. 2
Make a well, adding oil, egg yolks, water and extracts to the well in that order. Okay, sure. I’ll colour code this is instruction and its related ingredient in blue.
The Actual Cooking
This goes on and on till I have my recipe; I write down some notes as to what to expect and tips to make my life easier with it, voilà!
I get around to cooking, I collect every ingredient together, then put them away as I’m done with them. It feels so good to see every ingredient going away one by one, the clutter getting less and less.
I Feel like All I did was Show Up to Things Until I had my Ah-ha Moments
For more than ten years, it didn’t occur to me that, to make a set of instructions easy for me to view, all I had to do was have a recipe colour coded. Until that point, they looked like essays to me. All of a sudden, cooking feels so much easier. Let’s be fair, I shouldn’t ever expect a single person to have thought to tell me to write my recipes this way. For many, this wasn’t an issue for them, which I don’t blame them for. They might even give me a weird look and tell me it’s a waste of time the moment they see my recipes written this way, it’s not necessary for them. For me though, it means so much. Bit by bit, I learnt stuff about my life which would help make it easier to cook and vice versa.
It’s funny how this all turned out. The tips I needed to become more confident in cooking actually had little to do with cooking, a lot to do with knowing myself.
Have you ever had that sort of moment? Like a moment where the solution was something so far off from what you expected it to be.
Oohhhh, do you have any cooking stories or aims to share either?