A confession

I must confess: I don't measure.

This isn't a huge revelation for anyone who's watched me in the kitchen, but I wanted to point it out to those who plan to recreate dishes from this blog (and I hope you will). Yesterday's carrot soup recipe? The amounts of each ingredient are guesstimates. Very good ones, but guesstimates all the same.

People who are comfortable in the kitchen understand this. Even if they aren't winging it, they forgo the measuring cups and eyeball each ingredient. Laziness? I don't think so. Sure, it can be time consuming to stop and scoop freshly chopped herbs into little measuring spoons, but accomplished cooks are self-confident. All of the senses are called upon when creating a dish, tasting throughout the process. More salt? Add a pinch. More acid? Squeeze a few drops of lemon juice into the pot.

Sight, smell, and sound all come into play. You are likely to smell nuts toasting in the oven before you see them, you hear a chicken breast hissing in the pan when your back is turned. Touch is part of the process, too. Ever tried pressing a steak with your finger to know when it's done? The meat becomes firmer the longer it cooks.

Give yourself permission to make mistakes and just try. The practice-makes-perfect rule applies here, and you'll have a lot more fun.

Baking is an exception to my no-measuring habit. A big exception. I follow baking recipes to the letter the first go round, taste the results, think about changes I might make, and march forward. Chemistry is so important in baking - all that leavening magic that takes place - and it's virtually impossible to correct a mistake once you've placed your carefully mixed cake batter into the oven.

On that note, it's time to walk the dog and tune into Top Chef Masters 2. I'm no slave to food television, but my former boss, Jody Adams, competes tonight, and I must cheer her on. If you're ever in Cambridge, Massachusetts do yourself a favor and dine at Rialto.

Oh, and the camera is working again!


  1. I missed it. How did Jody do? Thanks, I need to be reminded to give myself permission to mess up. If it's a disaster, so what?

  2. If disaster strikes, order take out.

    Jody did a terrific job, winning the first challenge and doing well enough in the second to stay on the show!

  3. I only bake; I never cook. But mainly because I have no idea what I'm doing and no confidence. But I need to start, because there are so many nights where it's Nick, Betty and me eating take-out.

  4. Lemon Gloria - Take a chance and give cooking a try. Find a recipe that interests you or seek inspiration at the farmers' market (the vendors are usually happy to provide cooking tips). I think you'll be pleasantly surprised with the results.