What It Means To Cook Well

Wednesday, February 9, 2011 @ 04:02 PM

Anthony Bourdain recently put forth a challenge to what people thought that it meant to cook “well”.

Here is my take on the matter.

To cook well, means that you CAN cook, that you LOVE the ones you’re cooking for, or…you burnt it.

Cooking “well” has multiple meanings to me.

First, I think that to cook “well” means that you’ve mastered the art & skill of cooking. The food that you’ve cooked is palatable & edible. Just because you can boil water and not burn it, it does not mean that you can cook well. Someone is actually going to eat the food that you cooked & not pass it to the dog under the table, or nonchalantly spit it into a napkin when the cook is not looking.

Secondly, cooking “well”, to me, means love. It shows that you love food & the people that you are cooking for. You will pick out the freshest ingredients, take care in preparing and serving them. It means that you are putting a piece of yourself, your soul, into whatever you’re cooking, and sharing that part of yourself with the ones you love. My grandma used to make a mean apple pie. After she passed away, my mother and grandfather tried to capture her recipe and replicate it. It never came out the same. I always said that they missed her added ingredient. It was the love that she put into every pie.

Thirdly, I’d say that to cook “well” just means…”It’s overdone. You burnt it. Forget it and start over!” This can happen to anyone. I once had a brisket in the BBQ smoker. I ran out of wood for smoking. I brought the brisket in to finish in the oven. I must have leaned on the knob and turned the oven up too high. Needless to say, the brisket was a brick. Definitely WELL done. It was a waste of much time. I was quite saddened by the matter, but I’ve made up for that mistake since.

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