Tough love

Kitchen stories

I never should have written about my onion-chopping and the need for a sharp knife. I think I jinxed it. All of a sudden, my knife has gone blunt and I slip here and there, which makes me terrifired I’ll accidentally chop some vital body part off. So far nothing dramatic has happened, but this might be developing into a phobia if I let it grow. It’s like I’ve had a bad epiphany: hey now, remember you suck at chopping onions and things? Maybe you should just stay away from the kitchen then, eh?

It’s tricky business, cooking. Though you might love food, food does not always love you back. You’ll have this great image in your head of how great your dish is going to turn out, how beautiful it’ll look and how wonderful it’ll taste. And sometimes the result is nothing but disappointing. Your chicken might be too dry, your rice might burn and your pie might fall to pieces. If you’re a mature, balanced person, you will then think Instagram-worthy quotes like “making mistakes does not make you a failure, it just means you’re trying and learning in life”. Or, if you’re a little more like me, you’ll lay flat on your back and stare at the ceiling, thinking less Instagram-worthy quotes like “how come I suck at everything I do?”.

Confidence is a slippery little sucker. Speaking out of experience, you don’t need to know what you’re doing in order to succeed in the kitchen. It’s not rocket science. Just follow a pretty basic recipe step by step and most likely, you’ll be fine. This is how I learned cooking and I know a lot of people who get by just doing this. They manage to keep both themselves and their families alive and happy with a limited but sufficient meal repertoire.

However, if you have higher ambitions with your cooking, confidence is key. Well, maybe not key, but at the least you will have to try things that you find challenging at first. Those are apparently the rules. And if and when you fail, you’ll have two choices: keep staring at the ceiling and order take-out for the rest of your life, or get up and sharpen that bloody knife. (When I say “you”, I’m obviously talking to myself.) (Bloody was a poor choice of vocabulary though.)

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Malin Ågren is a copywriter living in Sweden. Food is her number one hobby.

3 thoughts on “Tough love”

  1. Sometimes the kitchen is a microcosmos of life in general . Don´t get discouraged, just try again! It helps, I can tell you, in life and cooking it´s all about learning by doing.
    I find it cool you are so frank and honest about what didn´t go that perfectly well in the kitchen, or elsewhere!


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