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Accepting and Moving on from Kitchen Mess-ups

This has been a week of cooking missteps and averted crises in my kitchen.

Last Friday night as I was assembling a huge batch of enchiladas for a large group of people, I ran out of tortillas. It was one of those moments of panic in the kitchen. How did I miscount the tortillas? How am I going to feed everyone? What am I going to do with all of this filling I have leftover? So I scrambled, raided the fridge, and decided to turn the pizza dough I had been planning on using for focaccia for dinner the next night into Mexican calzones to serve the kids who would be eating with us.

Last night I was putting away homemade chicken stock and realized that I didn’t have enough containers. So I googled storing stock in Ziploc bags, found it was a common thing, and decided to go for it. Then, during dinner, one of the bags leaked and not only did I lose 2+ cups of liquid gold, but two of my favorite cookbooks took one for the team and soaked up a huge amount of the mess.


Both of these moments have been good reminders for me of why some people find cooking to be a stressful or frustrating experience. If I had been just starting out in the kitchen as a cook or if I wasn’t a big lover of cooking and these things had happened, I might have just thrown up my hands and sworn off spending time in the kitchen. I totally get it.

But then I would have missed out on the boys devouring their calzones with gusto. I would have missed out on the Middle Eastern dinner that I was able to make for my extended family last night. And, honestly, I would have missed out on my pride in my problem solving skills and flexibility (and my deep gratitude to my husband for cleaning up the Great Chicken Stock Spill of 2015).

And that is what I love about cooking and what I try to impart to my clients. Like any learned skill, cooking can be frustrating, stressful, and challenging, but it can also serve as an amazing creative outlet, a beautiful opportunity for connection with family and friends, and a space for learning life lessons about patience, planning, humility, and flexibility. If you are just starting out with cooking or hate to cook, start small and simple (and check out this post for other tips). Gain that confidence so that when you have epic failures, which will occur, it isn’t the end of the world, but rather just a little bump in the road.

As for my own kitchen debacles, someday I am sure that I will look back on the lost chicken stock with a smile, but in the meantime I’ll be investing in a whole bunch of extra containers.

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