My lovely wife was kind of miffed about my Buying Local post. Not because she’s some huge supporter of chain stores or big beef, but because, as she mentioned in the comments section of said post, she’s been talking to me about this kind of stuff for years now. It’s true and it’s very much like that scene in Modern Family (a fantastic show which I wrote about over on UnitedMonkee). I have no defense for this. Like I said in that post, sometimes it can take a while for an idea to really take root in your brain.
As a kind of “I’m sorry” and to give you readers a better idea of my cooking background, I decided to start a recurring series of posts called Wife Lessons (like “life” lessons, get it?). She has way more cooking experience and knowhow than me. While I was waiting for my mom to cook dinner, she was in the kitchen with her mom helping out. She’s like my walking cookbook and reference guide all in one. I couldn’t cook without her and what’s the fun in making all this food for just one person? She offers advice (sometimes without me even asking) and recommends different spice combinations to really bring things together.
The biggest, most important lesson she’s taught me over the years and the one she continues to remind me about as I experiment in the kitchen is to taste as I go. It’s such a simple, basic and even obvious step in the cooking process, but one I honestly never even thought of. I consider myself a very analytical thinker, so when a recipe tells me how much of what ingredients I need to gather and how to throw them together, my dish should just taste good, right?
I can’t tell you how many times we had the same conversation about whether I’ve tasted my food as I cooked. Eventually, I got the importance of tasting my food as I went through my thick skull. As such, I’ve started to understand how flavors develop, what certain seasonings and herbs taste like and how they might benefit the dish. Sometimes I wonder if I should have read a book about cooking theory or something along those lines when I was starting off, but I also think it’s important to just jump into something and learn as you go. It’s the difference between learning in a school and learning in the real world and while both have their merits, there’s something you just can’t learn until you’re doing it for real. I can read about the right amount of salt to put in a dish, but until you bite into something that has way too much or too little of that particularly important ingredient, you don’t really know what the deal is.