Saturday, October 29, 2011

What you know: Pass/Fail

There are certain pursuits in life that are more suited to a pass/fail approach. These include, but are not limited to: High School Physical Education, The State Bar Exam, the Fosbury Flop, and (BikeSnobNYC taught me this) Bicycle Racing. Let's add cooking for love (of friends, money, and of course, lovers).

No one who cooks at home has a perfect record. There will be at least one dish with at least one thing for someone to find wrong with it. If you cook enough to actually get some attention, some of that attention will have to be negative. But being great isn't about being perfect.

Look at Ted Williams of the Boston Red Sox. He had more plating experience than you, in a way. But the best average he could hit was 0.406. Less than 50%, we call that a FAIL in academia. But he was one of the greatest.

Just realize that, in this craft, you ar dealing with a lot of factors: personal taste, emotion (yes, food has A LOT to do with emotion, especially for women, and that's why you're doing this, I digress), seasonings in season, vegetables in season, outside temperature, how much attention you can actually afford to pay to this dish, and the list goes on. Sometimes, you're just off your game. But a man who cooks is a man who cooks. If you are a man who puts barbecue sauce on burned steak, you are not a cook.

Basically, anything above that is what you're shooting for. And remember to focus on your strengths. Babe Ruth hit it out of the park, but that's because he couldn't run. If you can't nail the souffle, dominate the quiche.

Whatever your game, just keep bringing it to the plate.

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