“But you’re good at it”, they say.
“But you’ve had a lot of experience.”, they say.
“But you make everything taste so good, I could NEVER do that.”, they say.
“But have you tried?”, I ask.
It wasn’t that long ago I’d invite friends around for brekky or lunch and make THEM cook the eggs. Because I didn’t know how. Yep. Lunch Lady Lou couldn’t poach an egg to save her life once upon a time.
It wasn’t that long ago that I’d follow a recipe to the absolute accuracy thinking if I deviated even a little bit I’d ruin the dish. This added sometimes hours to the cooking adventure, finally arriving at the finished product seriously delayed and with an insane case of ‘hangry’. And then I’d request (boss around) my guests to cook the eggs. Hostest-with-the-mostest.
A professional, timely or friendly cook I may not have been but at least I tried.
It’s through consistently trying that things started to make a lot more sense. This flavour goes with that. Definitely don’t add those 2 ingredients together. Pots and pans are like gold, treat them well. Meat gets dry when you cook it (forget about it) for too long. Quality produce is where the flavour is at. Learning basic techniques is they key and wing it from there.
But I wouldn’t have learnt ANY of this if I didn’t try. I witness people repeating these stories daily about how terrible they are at cooking – the thing is, you’ve got to be terrible to be not-so-terrible or even great.
What’s that old saying?… to know happiness, you have to first know sadness. I think this is 100% true for cooking or anything really.
To become a great cook, you have to first burn the chicken.
And you will, don’t worry about that. You’ll burn it so bad but you’ll also learn from it and realise that your oven runs hot or that you shouldn’t multi-task just yet.
Remember learning to ride a bike? It takes ages! You start off with training wheels, even with 2 extra wheels nothing can stop you falling over. Then you graduate to just 2 wheels and your mum or dad holding the back of your bike to keep you steady, while you slowly slowly slowly gain some balance. You’re looking ready so they let go of the bike and you fall. But you get back up and try again.
“OK, so what you’re saying Lunch Lady Lou. Is that I should just try to cook something?” They ask.
Yes. That’s exactly what I’m saying.
So what are those 3 cooking rules Lunch Lady Lou lives by?
- Do what you need to do to get food into the fridge.
Seems simple, but seriously, if it’s not in your fridge how will you cook it? I work long days, like we all do and the last thing I want to do in the evening is go to the supermarket. It’s just not going to happen. So I allocate a day to shop on the weekend or better yet, buy online and get it delivered.
- Cook what’s in your fridge.
This is a practice in sustainability as much as it will hone your cooking skills. I made a rule a few years back that I would only cook from ingredients in the fridge until they were all gone. My knowledge, willingness and enthusiasm to cook greatly increased from this challenge. Yes it was a bit hard at times but that’s OK, its a story to tell the grandkids… and you 🙂
- Learn from your mistakes.
Ohhh cooking is feeling all the philosophical feels right now.
Say it with me “Learn from your mistakes”.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.
Start small. Experiment, learn, figure out what happened, try again. And that’s exactly how life goes.
- * BONUS TIP* Start small.
You don’t need to be able to cook fancy meals. So start small.
It’s OK if you have the same meal twice in the week. So start small.
Meat and 3 veg is fine and actually a very healthy meal. So start small.
There’s nothing wrong with what you know already, you should give it a bit more credit.
If you’re new to this cooking thang. Start small. Work on one thing first (choose brekky, lunch or dinner) and get great (not just good but great) at it. Get so great at it and then move onto the next meal.
Find this useful? Share with your buddies and arrange a dinner date so you can cook for each other.
Have a cooking question? Email Lou!