The art of cooking, according to the late Chef Charlie Trotter, is one of the most intimate things that we can do for each other. Cooking is indeed about love, care and touch, as well as the ingredients you’re working with and the people you’re preparing the food for.
In a way, cooking is a lot like good sex. You need to be in the mood for it, you need the time, and you need to engage all five senses – touching, tasting, smelling, seeing and hearing. Feel the texture of the ingredients, smell the fragrance of the produce, appreciate the incredibly vibrant colors that Nature creates, listen to the murmurs that come from the pot and finally experience the taste and flavors of food that has been prepared with love and mindfulness.
The most underused tool in the kitchen is the brain. We don’t think about recipes as much as we perform them. Cooking requires not just knowledge, but understanding, and understanding requires thought.
Simply put, until you understand the ‘why’ you won’t really know the ‘how’. A good cook needs to be in control 3 things: SALT, WATER and HEAT. And the most important one is HEAT.
The dictionary definition of cook (verb) means to prepare food for eating by means of heat.
It doesn’t matter whether you are preparing a meal in 10 minutes or 10 hours, those three things are crucial. Seasonings, glazes, sauces, rubs, infusions or relishes do not define cooking. It is defined by the correct application of heat.
Until you fully understand the intricate dance of matter and energy that defines cooking, you’ll remain in a culinary darkness now matter how adventurous you think you are with ingredients.