Today, SPF is launching a new series, “Richard’s Rules of Cooking.” These are the rules that guided me as I began to make my away around my once scary kitchen. I could take credit for them, because Richard isn’t really the on-line type, but I believe in karma and that wouldn’t be cool. So, they are as they were introduced to me, Richard’s rules and not my own, but they have served me well and I hope will, at least, entertain you.
Rule #1: ALWAYS have a drink while you cook. Really, always. Unless you’re making breakfast during the week, which in my experience few of us have the time to do these days, always have a cocktail while you cook. It will lower your inhibitions, which is necessary when first starting out in your kitchen. It’s a scary place, after all! Full of knives and hot things that can injure you. And it will help you avoid the major pitfall of watching everything too closely. Anality is required in baking, you need to be looser to cook.
This is easier if your recipe calls for some alcohol, like wine or tequila (yes, some recipes do call for tequila). If your recipe doesn’t, consider adding some. And when it does, you always follow the “One for you, two for me” rule.
This brings us to our first caveat to this rule, namely that you must also always cook with quality booze. And that crap they sell in the supermarket labeled cooking wine or sherry, don’t even bother. “If you wouldn’t drink it, don’t cook with it,” Richard used to say.
Caveat #2: Even if you’ve purchased a decent bottle of wine, you should test it first. Make sure you like it, get a sense of the flavors. This requires at least one full glass.
Caveat #3: If you are new to cooking, pour your glass after you’ve done any chopping the recipe requires, though this week’s Iron Chef America episode proves even the most seasoned chefs cut themselves from time to time. Consider it a battle scar and wear it proudly. It’ll be well worth it when you put the food on the table.
As a bonus, the booze will also dull the pain you may be feeling after said slice, or potentially burn. Plus, I’m betting this is making cooking dinner tonight look WAY more attractive to a lot of you. If you can have a cocktail, you really won’t mind spending a bit of time tinkering around the kitchen, which is where I’m heading now.