08/05/20, Kris Margett
They say cooking is more of an art than a science, and having a Honours Degree in Fine Art, I’d always taken that as a free license to cook however I like in order to get the desired result. Though no matter how good you are in the kitchen, there will always be something simple that gets the better of you, every time. The range of ‘simple things’ varies from person to person; One man’s collapsed souffle is another man’s over-boiled egg.
For me, it was rice. I tried washing it, soaking it, putting it in cold water, hot water… but it always came out stodgy, gloopy, overcooked or stuck to the pan and burnt. Many, many swear words have been shouted at bubbling pots and ruined dinners.
Surprisingly, I’d never actually thought to read the cooking instructions. Each type of rice demands a different method. Basmati and long grain have different needs to jasmine and brown rice. Then there’s carnaroli and arborio for risotto, which cooks completely differently to Arroz Redonda for paella. Not forgetting the minefield of sushi rice. Some needs to be stirred, some needs to be left alone, some washed, some not. I’m also told you can “boil-in-the-bag”?
It turns out that Uncle Ben knows a thing or two about how his rice should be stored, cooked, and its serving suggestions. The point is, that no matter how good your béarnaise sauce is, or how big your collection of Global knives is (Three and counting, thank you), sometimes you need to relinquish your artistic license and listen to the manufacturer’s guidance on how something should be done. Instructions are there for a reason, and once those instructions are committed to memory, they become knowledge. Knowledge gained by experience.
Every day can be a school day if you let it.
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