An excellent article and 8-item list (though I tend to hate n-item blog lists) from Eric Gower. Of note? Number 5:
5. Be fearless. Courage is crucial to cooking well. As in many areas of life, fear of doing things incorrectly induces paralysis; this is devastating in the kitchen, because we wind up being too hungry to deal and just go out, order in, or pull out the TJ’s quasimeal.
But how is fearlessness learned? By not caring. It sounds paradoxical, but think about it: What’s the absolute worst thing that could happen by taking risks with your cooking? That it ruins the dish? Well, yes, but you will have learned something valuable in the process. And if you’re anything like me, you abhor wasting food, and will do everything in your power to bring it back from the brink.
Too salty? Add some sliced potatoes, which will absorb the extra salt. Too bitter? Consider adding a sweetener like jam or maple syrup. Learn to “repair” mistakes you make. So much about cooking is about salvaging things that go wrong. Along the way, you learn. But you have to be bold and take some risks. It’s just food, after all. [ more... ]
Fearlessness is one thing I've tried to incorporate into my own cooking. There's nothing wrong with messing up. In fact, messing up should be expected and even welcomed. Those mistakes can be the greatest learning opportunities. Remember my potato cakes? Though it took over 12 hours of thinking about it, I was able to solve the problem and came up with a delicious snack I could be proud of. I was also ridiculously proud of myself and tromped around the kitchen clapping like someone enfeebled. So go on. Take risks. Put fennel in your lentils (actually, don't). Just stop being afraid of the kitchen and get to it.