Monday, November 10, 2008

Those who can't on forums

True confession time. I used to be one of those smarmy know it alls that used to savage restaurants and their cooking from time to time; professing my knowledge from the comfort of a soft dining chair. Well, I still am smarmy but I've toned down my rhetoric a little. What changed? Well, remember this old saying:

"Never judge a cook until you have cooked the line in a kitchen"

Okay, so I took some artistic licence with that. But the point is that eating a little humble pie (with creme anglaise) is a good thing. And this means cooking a little yourself occasionally.

Now look, I'm not expecting you to give every chef an obseqious thumbs up, if I want that, I'll read the food reviews in a certain Malaysian newspaper where everything seems to be 3 Michelin stars, where clearly one of two deserve to be renovated into something more landfills

And chefs are professionally trained. They went to culinary school while you tried desperately to made the debits equal credits in your ledger - that's why they own Chez Wong's and you are sitting there with your similarly Bachelor of Accounting attired girlfriend ordering from their menu. So, when you go home - should she expect you to replicate that whole roasted pig in a maple wood fired oven in your China made RM100 toaster oven? - of course not.

But a little bit of Maslowian actualisation can be gotten if you just play with cooking sometime. Go try and make pancakes. Or make pasta that is good enough to serve to a party of six. Try grilling fish. It's not as easy as it seems. And when you find this out, somehow, you'll just be a little more sympathetic the next time when the restaurant can't seem to get your lamb just right. I'm not saying you should excuse them - but that you'll offer them a smidgen of grace.

The fact is that I have made more bad dishes than good ones. Thrown out more disasters than saved them for posterity ( or my stomach). It's a natural course for those who love the holistic aspect of food. You like what you ate. You try and make it. It doesn't even come close. You get depressed. You try again. It's still not the same...but you don't's yours. You own it.

Congratulations - you've just taken Joseph Campbell's hero's journey

So, don't just talk or post on forums. Do. Go introspective..go into your own heavily underused kitchen and pick up a saucepan..

And you will find your bliss

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