Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Cooking Experiences vs. Outcomes

When you cook, do you focus on the experience or the outcome? I’m guessing most focus on the outcome. For some reason all our schedules are hectic. We want results quickly and they can be no less than perfect. So when it comes to cooking we try to get food on the table as quickly as possible or try to accomplish the impossible task of making the dish look exactly like it does in the cookbook or magazine picture.

Let me ask you this. Are your fondest memories based only on outcomes or is it the story behind the outcome that makes it interesting?

On of my fondest memories was when I was in university. My friends and I would occasionally go to a place in Toronto called the Wheat Sheaf. Back in those days the place was a dive, the service was slow, the food sucked and the staff occasionally swore at you. We definitely didn’t go there for the outcomes (great food, good service or an intimate atmosphere).

We went there for the experiences. You never knew what you were in for and there was always a story to tell after each night. Our experiences there made for interesting outcomes and that's why we kept going back.

The same applies to cooking. When you take a few seconds to smell the fresh ingredients, listen to the sizzle of the pan, move in the kitchen to your favorite music, try different combinations of ingredients and accept the good outcomes with the bad, the entire experience becomes so much more memorable. It’ll make you want to cook again!

Focusing only on fast or perfect outcomes and ingoring the experience will most definitely make cooking feel like a laborious chore. You choose!

I should note that the Wheat Sheaf is now a nice establishment after being taken over by new management. But the place is now like so many other establishments in Toronto. It focuses on outcomes so it lacks what drew me and my friends there in the first place…interesting experiences.

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Brent Garell
The Kitchen Roadie

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