Monday, July 22, 2013

It's not about the nail (applied to the kitchen)

Have you seen the viral video, "It's not about the nail."?

If you haven't, you really should.  I won't spoil it for you but it is the ubiquitous couple's "conversation" where he is trying to be practical and she just wants him to listen to her and stop trying to fix everything.  I was watching this video again last night for, oh, I don't know, the fifteenth time and it hit me (again)'s not about the food, cooking or recipe, it's about listening to yourself.

You know how I hate it when people are slaves to recipes.  It happens in my classes all the time.  It is the bane of my existence and I feel it is my mission in life to lead you down "freedom's path" to the place without recipes.
The inevitable (and constant) question is: "How much of that did you put in?"  And, my inevitable response is:  "Um, I don't know, maybe a (fill in the blank with a form of measurement)."  It's not that I mean to be oppositional; it's just that as I stand in my mother's shoes, I really don't know for sure, exactly how much I put in.  So, I often have some frustrated people in my classes, especially the accountants and engineers.  At least in the beginning.  Then, they learn to relax, have another glass of wine and just go with it or I guess, they find another kind of cooking class.
Because it's not about the measuring!  It's about tasting the food and thinking or feeling something about it.  Does it taste salty, sweet, bitter, tart, bland or whatever.  If you don't think about or feel something about those taste experiences, I'm afraid you will be trapped in Recipeland, forever.  EEK!!

Here's the thing, recipes are created by people who like things a certain way.  That's why sometimes when you follow a recipe exactly, you think it tastes like crap because it doesn't suit your taste.  The person who made up that recipe does not have your taste buds or flavor memories so how in the world can he/she tell you about making something?  It may taste perfectly fine to them but not to you.  And, you know what, that's okay!  You are entitled to your opinion, so disagree!
Day in and day out, you follow the recipes of other people because you think they know more than you do.  Well, maybe they do but only you know what you like and how you like it.  Would you let someone pick out your clothes and tell you what to wear?  Of course not!  Unless you're five.  So why do you allow other people to dictate how you are going to have your food?  It's one thing to go to a restaurant or someone's home to enjoy their food.  It's something else to be making your own food by following someone else's rules, don't you think?
So here's another little recipe exercise to help you find your way out of Recipeland and back to freedom!  This is one I made up from different foods and flavors that I really like.  We'll start simple with a salad  because I'm only going to give you the ingredient list and no measurements! But I will give you a picture.
  • red onion
  • cucumber
  • grape tomatoes
  • feta cheese
  • romaine lettuce
  • white balsamic vinegar
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper
Here's what you do.  Gather YOUR ingredients.  Add, subtract, and/or modify to your heart's content.  You don't like red onion?  Fine, leave it out.  You love red bell pepper?  Great, add some.  See what I mean?  This stops being my Chopped Greek Salad and becomes your salad, isn't that cool!  So take ownership and do what you like to it.  Make it taste the way you like things to taste.  Then let me know how it turned out!  Because it's not about the nail!
And as always...
 If you liked this post, SHARE it on Facebook, Twitter or with someone you think needs to see it!

Come join the fun and take a class with us!  Visit my website at Urban Kitchen on Cherry Street and check out the Class Calendar.

And, if you haven't already...don't forget to read my July 4th post and answer The Girl's Super Simple Survey!


  1. I teach, so I don't get to catch a lot of daytime TV. I did watch you this week on Great Day and loved the segment! So glad to see you have a blog. Be sure to register as an Oklahoma Women Blogger (a free network for women bloggers in Oklahoma). We'd love to have you as a part of us!
    Heather Davis

  2. Thanks for your comment! I'm glad you enjoyed the segment and I will definitely register.
    Thanks again!