Eager to impress and please my guests for a back yard party, a few weeks ago, I tried a new recipe.
As is characteristic of my Zodiac sign ( a water sign)--we love to nurture and cater to family and friends.
For some reason, I'm also a big "foodie" who finds the act of watching cooking shows very relaxing.
Name a cooking show or chef, and it's likely that it's on my weekly viewing list: from Simply Ming, to Katie Brown, to old reruns of Julia Child.
Anyhow, I digress here...
So, as I was saying--the recipe called for a spice that I had never used before.
It's called Cumin (pronounced "Q-MIN").
Short on time, and long on tasks on my "to do" list, I decided to just leave it out.
What difference could one small ingredient I had never even heard of make, right?
Though the dish (Black bean and corn salad) was still pleasing to some folks' palate, a few days ago, I actually found some of the missing ingredient and bought it at my local grocer.
And I taste tested it.
The flavor would have certainly enhanced my recipe had I chosen not to leave it out.
I find that writing is kind of that way too.
Before we decide to take shortcuts or break certain rules to fit our fancy, it's important to know what purpose they serve, and how we can produce an equally pleasurable experience for our readers, if we deviate from time honored traditions and logistics.
Here are a few other lessons learned as a result of watching recent episodes of Master Chef and Hell's Kitchen:
- You can't rush the process, if you want to produce quality results. If a recipe calls for something to be baked at 250 degrees for 2 hours, don't try to reduce the time by placing it in the oven for 1 hour at 500 degrees. Can you say "Cajun"? :-)
- Don't try anything new or elaborate on a tight deadline. Whether it's for a party, or to impress an editor. Experiment on your own time.
- Don't "stir the pot." In other words, don't engage in online "word wars" or belittle others through blog rants. You're likely to "get burned" in the process.
- If you can’t stand the heat, stay out of the kitchen! Hell's Kitchen Master Chef, Gordon Ramsay, is insanely wicked when it comes to critiques of contestants.He makes comedian Andrew Dice Clay sound like a Boy Scout comparatively. (Hence the name, “Hell’s Kitchen”.) The point here? Sometimes rejection letters, commentary provided by editors, and even general blog comments by readers, can be brutal and unfair.
Don’t let it permanently burn you. It comes with the territory. Apply what you can. Pass on leftovers.
- Don’t discount expert experience. In order to teach others, you must be willing to learn.
Generally speaking, experts in any field, are designated experts for a reason.
They’ve done their homework. They’ve traveled where you’re trying to go.
They know some things that you don’t. Hello?
Each show, I’m amazed at how resistant some folks are to the advice of their mentors.
Though confidence is an admirable trait, confidence should never come before competence.
It doesn’t even in the dictionary.
So, if you don't want your ideas and creative pieces to come across as "half baked" observe these timely lessons from the kitchen.
Thoughts? Agree or disagree?