Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Giving thanks for… learning new skills

I mentioned last week that I have been cooking a lot more. The main reason I’ve never been that into cooking is the prep work – all that chopping, mincing, dicing. It’s tedious, takes (me) forever, I’m never sure if I’m doing it ‘right’, and I’m often worried I’m going to cut myself. You can buy some stuff pre-prepped, like already-diced onions or shredded carrots, but a) it’s more expensive and b) that means I have to actually plan exactly what I’m making so whatever I buy doesn’t go bad before I use it. I’ve always thought that it would be cool to learn how to chop the way they do on Top Chef so I was psyched to find out that a local Sur la Table store offers an ‘Essential Knife Skills’ class.

I took the class on Monday night and suddenly I’m thinking about prep work in a totally new light. It’s kind of amazing how learning just a few minor things, like how to hold a knife correctly and the right motion for chopping, can change the whole experience from tedious and stressful to interesting and fun. A big part of it is simply changing my perspective to thinking about knife work as a skill so every vegetable I chop is now an opportunity to practice, instead of being something I just need to get done so I can get the food cooked. Maybe it’s the academic in me but having the challenge of developing a new skill makes the process much more enjoyable.

What new skills have you learned lately?

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