“Physical therapy attempts to address the illnesses, or injuries that limit a person's abilities to move and perform functional activities in their daily lives.” — Wikipedia
This morning, I am baking the Plum Torte one of our members posted on Slack. It got rave reviews from a couple of you, so I thought I would give it a try. I don’t bake much. For some reason when I started cooking a thousand years ago, I got stuck at dinners. I feel completely comfortable in the kitchen around my stove. Everything is an easy flow for me, like a fish swimming in a peaceful stream. This morning I was trying to figure out why I don’t have the same experience baking. I realized the movements are a little different. Physically, it isn’t the same thing and the thought came to me that I need some Baking Physical Therapy. I need to learn to be comfortable with baking movements like mixing the dry ingredients, scraping down the sides of the mixer bowl, etc. This led me to understanding why others struggle in the kitchen, it isn’t just not having a zillion recipes in your head, it is how comfortable we are with our movements. So, if I may offer a couple of tips to help all of us in our culinary journeys and growth:
#1 Read the recipe all the way through and scan ingredients just to/ This gives me the information I need regarding timing, task order, tools and ingredients
#2 Get your tools out and in a convenient place to get to when you need them. It is a bummer when you are right in the middle of pouring out a thick sauce and you have to stop to go find a scraper.
#3 Get your ingredients out and organized. Again read the recipe instructions, quite often it is helpful to prep things like onions, garlic, or vegetables, by chopping before you get to your cooking. I am an enormous fan of pinch bowls in all sizes!
#4 Remember to preheat that oven if you are putting anything in it, and along the same line if you need a big pot of boiling water, get that going before you start on everything else. If the water comes to the boil before you are ready you can pop a lid on it, turn the heat down to low, and it will wait for you.
#5 Practice, practice, practice! Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, we all do, ALL our lives. I still make (typically really stupid) mistakes, most often it is because I allow myself to get distracted. Embrace your time cooking almost as a meditation, allow your mind to focus on your task and let go of the day, preferably with a glass of nice wine and some good music.
I know your day is long, and often making dinner is not at the top of the list of fun things to do when you are tired, but trust me, if you can take a moment and a good deep breath to let the day go, dive in with a smile on your face, you will most likely find it becomes your special time.
As Jacques Pepin always says, “Happy Cooking!”