You know when you go out to eat at a pretty nice place…or you go to a friend’s home to have dinner and the host’s have always been pretty good cooks. Perhaps even to a breakfast house to grab something in the morning. You have an anticipation that something good is coming to the table, the counter, or coming from behind the case. You just barely get the smell of that first sip of a really great cup of coffee, just a moment before the great taste hits your tongue. You begin to realize that something great is about to happen. A chef, cook or other service person is going to see the satisfaction of their efforts on your face. The moment you taste what they’ve made…and you show that you really like it.
Now, think for a moment about the time you were doing the work…the one in the kitchen, the person that just served that cup of perfectly brewed latte; or the one that just saw the look on your guests’ face when they tasted what you have prepared. You saw their eyes close, their shoulders slightly wither and their knees get weak. They usually followed that body language of complete satisfaction with a moan, sigh or other animalistic intestinal type of sound. You remember the satisfying feeling of accomplishment, and…that you did it right.
I want to take you into a world of passion, a world of emotion and finally, into a world not quite fully understood by most. It’s a world extremely vulnerable, caotic, and penetrable. A world of cooking that comes with celebration, jubilance yet a complete inner peace. It’s the moment you know…”I nailed it!”
You have been focused on the creation of who knows what. It could be a cake, a sauce or a roast. It may have been a simple task, perhaps even something that you just set in the oven to forget, or something that you have had to constantly monitor to ensure its correctness and completeness. You may have followed a useless recipe card or made it from your head. You have now been at it for however long, stirring, sifting, dicing, puree’ing, tasting, salting and tasting…and salting…and tasting. Your theories and trials have never been unequivocally perfected before so you tweak the notion, the potion, the mixture…the timing. It just never seems quite right. It’s just a little off. It needs just a little more spice. It just needs another couple of minutes of reduction. The meal or item becomes complete and you serve what you’ve got. Just like in culinary school or maybe on the show Chopped…”Time’s up, step back from your station”. If you served it to the guests at your house they always say it was wonderful. They always say what a good cook you are. I don’t think I’ve ever heard anyone ever say “your cooking sucks” in anyones house.
What I’m talking about here is the time that you’ve worked on an idea that has been brewing, or a menu item that has been tried before but never perfected. I’m talking about the time that you decided to try it again, the time you decide it could change for the better if I do just this one simple change. I’m not talking about changing something that now becomes acceptable to a guest or patron, and I’m not talking about something that is now acceptable to serve, or acceptable to the chef instructor or the food critic. I’m talking about that moment you remove the lid, you turn the cake pan over, the moment you finally taste it just before the final reduction…, the moment that the temperature is perfect and the sauce consistency is perfect or maybe the tenderness and doneness of the meat is perfect the moment you cut into that expensive roast of tenderloin. I’m talking about that harmonious self-induced solace of inner peace once you’ve… “finally nailed it”. I mean…everything is just right. Absolutely perfect!!!
Congratulations to all of those the have finally “nailed it”. It’s a really bitchen feeling. Try finding it…it’s cool.