I am not sure why I have been mindful that no two people are the same. As you get to know us, you become aware of our personalities, what we like, don’t like, how we behave, what we believe, and so much more about us as human beings. I was struck this week while watching food shows on youtube about how important it is to get to know the food you are cooking with. (Yes, I am a food show junkie).
I am not sure how many times I needed to hear the message before I got it. It started with the judges on Chopped stressing how important it is to taste all the ingredients. That I understood. However, then while watching an episode of MasterChef season 10 for the 3rd time I heard the passion with which Joe Bastianich spoke to a contestant about not making a test sample of a scallop as not all have the same level of sweetness to them. He pointed out those who made test samples and those who did not. Later I was watching Bobby flay make a breakfast omelet and he spoke about jalapenos and not all are equally spicy. He spoke about the importance of testing one to see how spicy it was. Knowing the spice level would help you to know how much to add to the recipe.
That is when it hit me, I get to know the ingredients I am cooking with, just like I do the people I associate with. I need to test cook or taste some of my ingredients to get to know a little bit about them before just cooking them or adding them to my recipe. Not all of anything is the same. There is so much diversity within any type of food, just like people. The more we know about our ingredients, the more we know how to season them, what to add to them, and how to bring out the best in them
When I remember to honor my ingredients the way I honor those in my life, I learn more about them. I come to recognize their unique personalities. I know that not all jalapenos are equally spicy, nor do all scallops have the same level of sweetness. I learn to taste everything and understand the complexity of tastes and textures in each ingredient. I come to understand how they change when cooking and how some foods like seafood are far more challenging to cook then other proteins. The more time and energy I spend learning about my ingredients, the more I realize that none are the same.