The Secret “4P’s” To Great Cooking
“How or where did you learn to cook?” or, “I wish I could do what you do…I think I’d like to learn, is it easy?” are just two of the more obvious questions I get whenever I cook a meal. And while I admit I do seem to have a certain knack when it comes to cooking, the truth or “secret” is simple.
It’s the same answer you’d get from anyone who “gets good” at something and becomes an “over night success”…Practice, plain and simple. One of the most famous quotes in golf comes from the Jack Nicolas, winner of less than 14 majors throughout his playing career. (An achievement yet to be beaten)
The quote goes like this “The more I practice the ‘luckier’ I become”. Now sure Jack was supremely talented and had his fair share of luck while playing but regardless of his luck or talent he practiced harder than anyone else too.
Now that said. we’re talking about cooking and my firm belief is that ANYONE can cook great food *IF* they have the ‘Secret’.
Now here’s my secret. (In no particular order…)
1. Practice: obviously means a certain element of ‘trial & error’ helps when cooking. But I guess the real moral here is don’t be put off first time, as next time you’ll be more comfortable and the more times you cook a dish the more comfortable you will become with it.
2. Product: is all about the quality of your ingredients, I’ve mentioned this before but the better the product the better the end result. Never has the term, “you can’t make a silk purse out of a sows ear” been more apt. In a nut shell buy the very best that you can afford.
3. Patience: is a virtue! Taking your time is a must, for example when something says finely diced take the extra care to make things fine! To do this you want to make sure you have a sharp knife, so if it needs sharpening, do it! And above all give yourself plenty of time to get things done, the last thing you need is to be rushing or having to nip out for the kids or something thats going to take you away from the job in hand.
4. Preparation: is something that is vital to your cooking success. When I’m cooking I always like to get ALL my ingredients out/ready/prep’d before I begin cooking. This includes everything, so chop/crush/dice/weigh all ingredients that you’ll need and have them set out on plates/bowl/boards etc. Also its a really good idea to read through the recipe in FULL before you start your cooking to get a good idea of whats coming up next. And finally on this make sure all your work surfaces are clear and clean – giving yourself plenty of good space to work in helps massively.
I guarantee if you follow these principals you won’t go far wrong.