Lessons on life and cooking can be found in even the seemingly simplest of places.
1. Read the recipe carefully. Sometimes it’s okay to be a little more daring, especially when it’s a culinary road you’ve traveled before, but when it’s uncharted territory, it’s best to have a complete idea of where you’re headed. Otherwise, making the marinade that you expect will take a few minutes will end up taking you an hour and a half. And you’ll leave off a step or two in the grilling process, and general frustration will ensue.
2. A little bit of love can help you get through anything. Like peeling the skin off of chicken pieces with your bare hands, or seeing the rib cages and chest cavity of your dinner. It was pretty disturbing, but I just thought of how much Chris would enjoy it, took a deep (if a bit shaky) breath, and continued on. (I did enjoy my meal, too, but at that moment, wrist deep in sliminess, eating what was on my cutting board was about the least appetizing thought I could think of. My lack of butchering ability would be a serious downfall in the real culinary world.)
3. Dive into your task whole-heartedly; lazy shortcuts cost you time and frustration. Of course, this goes hand in hand with lesson #1. If you read the recipe, then you know what to expect and where you might be able to trim a bit of time of here or there. But when you don’t read the recipe, and you try to take the easy way out, it ends badly. Like when I glanced at my recipe and saw ginger and garlic listed and started in on the marinade. And then I looked more closely and saw it called for ginger paste and garlic paste. I was too lazy to go get my food processor, so I thought I would just grate some up on my microplaner. Then I saw that the recipe called for 1 tablespoon of each…and then, with dread, looking down at the measly bits of ginger clinging to the back of the microplaner, I realized I was doubling the recipe. And so, one entire bulb of garlic, four inches of ginger, and 40 minutes later, I finally finished grating.
4. Everything can be improved with some sunshine and a cool breeze. So dinner took much longer than we expected, especially when we decided to grill. So we weren’t eating until 8 or after and I was getting hungry and cranky. So the chicken wasn’t as pretty or as nicely charred as I would have liked, and Chris moved it off the grill before I could get a picture. But we were eating outside on our porch, getting the last bit of the day’s light with the puppy by our side. And then we ate s’mores and warmed up by the fire in the cool night air. How bad could it be?