Courage of Convictions

Like many American cooks, I have always admired the work of Julia Child. She brought gourmet cooking into American kitchens, a place it had rarely been before. I remember well the episode of her Public Television show “The French Chef” when she had to flip an omelette. She stood at her stove and said, “Sometimes you just have to have the courage of your convictions.” She then went to flip the omelette and part of it didn’t make it. She then talked about how it was just you in the kitchen, so what other people didn’t know wouldn’t hurt them.

That brings us to this cooking tip:

Cook without fear! Don’t be afraid of failure. You cannot be afraid to make a few mistakes in the kitchen. Trying new or unusual ingredients, seasonings, combinations and types of cuisine is what keeps cooking fresh and fun – and it’s also the best way to discover delicious dishes you would never have found in your mom’s dusty old cookbook. Be adventurous!

Many of us just think we don’t like certain foods. One friend recently discovered that she liked pastrami after having grown up believing that she didn’t because that’s what her mom told her. I grew up not liking most vegetables because in my house they were always mushy and tasteless. But I learned that it was just the way my mom cooked them because of my father’s dentures. When I became friends with a guy who liked to cook and knew how, I discovered a whole new world of green things I didn’t know existed.

And in happier times, I learned about all different kinds of food I never thought I would eat from all around the world. Who knew Ethiopian cuisine was so good? Or that sushi really was very tasty? Or that the aromatic spices of Moroccan food could be so enticing? I fell in love with Lebanese jasmine rice, Greek gyros (pronounced YEAR-ohs, dammit), Welsh Pasties and their cousins, latin empanadas. There are some things I still don’t like, such as any form of cabbage. But I have learned there is more to gain than to lose by taking a culinary walk on the wild side.

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