Things I've Learned in the Kitchen

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You know what I simultaneously love and dislike about cooking? It's a never ending learning process. There is no finite end, and even if their were, someone would come along and invent a new technique or recipe and you'd be back at square one.


In some ways, it levels the playing field for all of us - whether classically trained or self taught.


One of the world's most renowned chefs, Julia Child, {who would have recently celebrated her 100th birthday}, was well-known for her fearlessness and candor about delving into the world of food. She was a pretty spunky broad who wasn't afraid to "get good and loaded and whack the hell out of a chicken." {How could you not love her?}


As I was reading a list of famous Julia quotes last week, I couldn't help but chuckle {and nod enthusiastically} at her advice and counsel. I could completely relate to many of the pitfalls and blunders she addressed in her witty way.


Some days you'd think I have never stepped foot in a kitchen. I make silly mistakes and I have to laugh at myself or else I'd cry... especially when said mistake ends in wasted ingredients, a wrecked kitchen, or an inedible product. And believe me, there have been countless occasions where this has been the case.


Inspired to list of some of the "oopsies" that I tend to make every week from time to time, I've compiled some important tips in hopes that they will both entertain you, and keep you from your own kitchen disasters.


Things I've Learned in the Kitchen {Through Trial & Error} :

1. For heaven's sake... use a big enough pot. Or bowl. Or pan. Because somehow I am constantly spilling things everywhere due to insufficient space in whatever vessel I'm using. I must've missed the day we discussed volume in school.


2. As delicious as whatever you are cooking looks or smells, give it a second to cool down before you put it in you mouth. It's a wonder I have any skin left on the roof of my mouth.


3. Make sure you have all the ingredients you need before you begin a recipe. There's nothing worse than getting to the "Add 2 eggs" step and finding that you do not, in fact, have any eggs in the fridge. {Especially when your husband left an empty egg carton to throw you off.}


4. On a similar note, read recipes all the way through before you begin them. It can be a little embarrassing to discover that Step 5 directs you to marinate the pork tenderloin... for 24 hours... and your company will be arriving in 3. Attention to detail, folks.


5. If a recipe tells you that you need non-stick cooking spray... or that you need to stir constantly... or that there will be violent boiling and the possibility of bubbling over - believe it. Odds are it will not be any different in your kitchen.


6. Powdered sugar, cornstarch, and dry quinoa are notorious "jumpers" in my kitchen. {Meaning, they like to jump out of whatever I am attempting to contain them in and onto my clothing or floor.} Proceed with caution.


7. Drinking wine {or any alcoholic beverage, for that matter} while cooking: Double edged sword. ;)


8. Put contacts in, do your eye makeup, or any activity that requires your hands being near your eyes BEFORE you come in contact with jalapenos. You might think sufficient washing will remove the residue... It will not.


9. Measuring when baking = not a suggestion. Unless your hands have unit markings & your arms are a kitchen scale.


10. Have fun in the kitchen. No recipe is worth a meltdown; no lopsided cake worthy of your tears. Cooking is an adventure, there will be mistakes. {Even when you are pretty good at it!} But if you can't help it and your deflated souffle or burnt caramel or lumpy gravy simply breaks your heart... wine or chocolate {or both!} will usually do the trick of soothing your culinary ego. :)

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