I was on Skype last night with my (amazing) boyfriend while simultaneously sautéing mushrooms and drinking a glass of wine. Though I may have looked domestic and all, I’m hardly the type to claim I’m a stellar cook. I have my fall back dishes (enchiladas) and occasionally try a new recipe, but I’m better friends with my microwave than my stove top.
I’m learning though. Every time I come home, I cook with my mother. The kitchen is familiar and clean, and I ask my mom questions along the way. It’s like a crash course in Cooking 101.
So while I admittedly haven’t mastered the “art of cooking,” I’m working on it. And I’ve learned a couple key things about what truly is the art of cooking.
- Keep it clean. When I try to write in a dirty room, I can’t think straight; my head is as cluttered as the carpet. In the same way, I can’t (or refuse to) cook in a dirty kitchen. Working in a clean space is more sanitary and less stressful. And honestly, it’s much easier to pace and control a meal if the kitchen is clean. Wash dishes as frequently as possible. Wipe the counters. Throw things away when they smell like something died. Common sense.
- When in doubt, add garlic.
- Be creative. This comes naturally to me, probably because of my mother. She loves trying out new recipes and ideas, and she calls her dinner guests her guinea pigs. Things aren’t always perfect, but it’s always fun.
- Wear an apron. Cooking is one of the only times I get the chance to feel super girly. I love hamming it up with an apron (like this “Cuisine Couture” one from Anthropologie). And then there’s the practicality, too. Don’t want to spill on your fancy cookin’ clothes.
- Taste test right out of the dish. I swear it tastes better that way.
- Don’t try to cook and host at the same time. Honestly, I’ve seen people struggle with this a lot. And there are ways to balance the food and the friends. Either (a) cook things ahead of time so that the most you have to do is dish them out OR (b) co-host the dinner. Having someone else greeting people and starting conversation takes the pressure off the cook. Also, ask people for help. Everyone knows how to stir.
- Take photographs. Foodie photos are the best!
- Have fun. This, for me, typically entails having a glass of wine or iced tea when I cook. It helps me relax and enjoy my time and really savor all the scents and tastes in the kitchen. And if a swish or two of wine happens to spill into whatever I’m cooking, then so be it.
|So. Much. Garlic.|