Cooking isn’t something that’s entirely new to me. I’m no maestro, but I survive feed myself well (something my mother would have choice words about). What is new to me is the place I’m cooking in and the food I’m cooking. Swapping one corner of the world for the other, I find myself renting a room in a house I’m told to consider my own, in a kitchen which tests my memory of where items of interest are kept. Being forgetful and hunting for that one elusive ingredient at the vital time often decides whether you’re eating cooked or burned food.
It’s easy to forget – especially in youthful enthusiasm – when you are rather focussed on remembering each detail of that new recipe. You pore over the details in your mind, taking your time doing things one at a time. And therein lies the dilemma. Is cooking slowly a common beginner’s mistake? Does the speed with which your hands move in the kitchen decide if you’re a good cook?
I thought long and hard about this while munching down on bacon egg rolls. I also chewed long and hard, for I’d forgotten to cook the bacon.
Let’s expand our vision and look at other skills and practices. Being a writer, I was biased towards taking things slow. On the other hand, my time studying Computer Science Engineering had taught me that the skilled are always quick about their job. But having put my degree in the field aside, I chose the same fate for this thought. I moved on to other fields.
Are you a good teacher if you teach and deal with questions and paper corrections speedily? I think not.
Are you a good mechanic if you’re really handy with the tools? I think so.
Are you a good musician if you can play your instrument pretty fast? Not necessarily.
Are you a good business person if you make decisions quickly? Don’t think so.
Are you a good store employee if you are slow? I think not.
Do archaeologists and scientists take things slow? Absolutely.
Do martial artists take things slowly? Hell no.
As if often the case, digging deeper only produced more questions. However, it also gave my question some breadth and brought in other factors. One thing that stood out was precision. When I went over the same questions again, precision seemed to fit well in everything. As long as you know what you’re doing, you’re getting something done properly. Speed can take a backseat when there is clarity. Handiness with equipment comes with practice, and experience plasters over amateur mistakes.
Perhaps it’s something that is too complex to be rounded off with a simple generalization like this, but I feel precision is key here. Not just in cooking, but whatever you do. I also think it’ll be a good idea to keep everything ready beforehand the next time I cook!
This is a first of a series where I talk (rant?) about the little things that pop in one’s head unannounced from time to time. Bear with me, share with me.
Photo by Mae Mu on Unsplash
First posted on Agyani’s Stories