Today I stopped at the store on my way home from work to pick something up to cook for dinner. Before leaving work, I had been scouring the internet for recipes. Nothing was speaking to me, though. I was still butt hurt by last night’s uber unsuccessful bechamel.
Then it clicked. Cue the imaginary light bulb hovering above my head.
I’ve been so determined, so balls to the wall about the idea of becoming a great chef, that I’m not taking my time and I’m trying to rush into things. Yes, I want–and need–to constantly try new things and test myself. However, the point in testing yourself is to see if you can do something. If you can’t, you either give up or you try again and again and again until you can. The past several months for me have been a series of tests that I have FAILED, and instead of trying and practicing until I turn those failures into talents, I’ve given up and tried the next thing on the list in the hopes that there will be “something else” I can do successfully.
I kept this in mind as I planned tonight’s dinner. I wanted to try something new, but it needed to be something I could try that would build on the few strengths I already have in the kitchen. The result? Fajitas!
A few months ago, whenever I removed the core of a bell pepper, my entire kitchen would end up splattered in seeds. In the sink, on the floor, in my hair, on my clothes. And now:
And of course, my relationship with chopping onions has always been rocky. But I’m getting better:
Lately, when I’ve chosen recipes for dinner I’ve been picky about choosing recipes that are really (really, really) challenging. For me, at least. So of course I’m bound to mess up A LOT! Hello, Captain Obvious speaking. If I’m going to learn to cook, I need to feel at least somewhat comfortable with my abilities or I am doomed to screw up any given recipe. And that’s what I did differently tonight. I’ve never made fajitas. It’s “new.” It’s “different.” It’s a challenge–especially since I’m still getting a handle on cooking different types of meat. Yet, I never once doubted that I was capable of making them because there were steps involved with which I felt completely at ease.
Halfway through the process, things were still looking good:
The fajitas went off without a hitch and a few minutes later, we had a scrumptious dinner that, for a nice change, hadn’t gone terribly wrong.
Tonight’s lesson: patience, patience, patience. It’s all about the baby steps. Fajitas aren’t fancy and they don’t require the skills of a talented chef–but then again, I’ve got a long way to go before I reach “fancy” and “talented.”