For the last few years I have had a quote on my fridge taken from a desk calendar called “The Joy of Cooking”.
The quote goes:
“Cooking is not brain surgery – all you need is good ingredients, some simple equipment, and the desire to cook for those you love.” – Ethan Becker
I don’t know who Ethan Becker is but I have always enjoyed the philosophy of the quote. At least in theory. In theory it’s true. In practice when you are not a very confident cook, cooking for others can be downright nerve-wracking.
My own lack of confidence is due, in part, to a lack of experience. I haven’t needed to do a whole lot of cooking and when I did, it didn’t matter so much if I messed it up. I also suspect my issue comes from the fact that my mother is an excellent cook (as are my siblings) and within our social circle this was well known. It was a lot to live up to – at least in my mind. The reality was probably that no-one gave it any thought at all.
As a result I have avoided cooking for others where possible. Tonight I faced that fear and came out victorious. My friend G came to stay for the weekend and as we were unable to do our usual Chinese feast, I offered to cook something (relatively) healthy.
One of the best things to do when cooking for others if you are nervous, is cook something simple that you have made before. I chose to make Lemon and Garlic Roasted chicken. I stuffed the cavity of the chicken with lemon quarters and garlic and poked some garlic under the skin and away we went.
Other than a small mishap of accidently dropping half the cauliflower in the sink, I decree the meal a success. I had it ready more or less at the same time and it was, if I do say so myself, delicious. The chicken was moist and tender and the lemon/garlic infusion made both the chicken and the veges fabulous. (I suspect that photographic evidence will be showing up on G’s own blog (see previous post for link) as she was snapping shots as I worked.)
It was, in short, a modest triumph. Perhaps Ethan was right afterall.