The cooks thoughts, feelings, and physical well-being affect all parts of the meal and contribute to the making of a good cooks reputation. This is one of those age-old secrets of why some cooks receive rave notices no matter what they make. Or why some people prefer one cooks apple pie to any others. Perhaps this is why just like Mom used to make describes better than anything all the loving attention that Mom put into her food even more than what kind of food she made.
We have already considered the peaceful effect the kitchen environment has on your undistracted attention, but the quality of the thoughts and feelings you have while working are equally important. For this reason you should neither cook (nor eat) when you are ill or feeling angry or upset. The quality of the cooks attention has at least as much to do with the success of a meal as the kind of work space, all of the ingredients, the table setting, and any utensils you use. To maintain your undivided attention avoid such distractions as listening to music, having long telephone conversations, playing the radio or television, chatting with visitors, or anything that keeps you from thinking about and being with the job at hand.
When cooking without distractions, you become more aware of the various parts of meal preparation, including appetizing color combinations, the proper balance of taste and qualities for each dish, as well as the needs of each of the people who will be eating. When you enjoy the intensely creative cooking experience in this way anything else will seem like an unwelcome distraction.
In the quiet of the kitchen just before starting to cook you survey everything that youll useall the fruits and vegetables, the spices and herbs, the oils, and grains, and how you plan to handle them to achieve the desired results. All during the cooking process your attention will naturally go beyond the kitchen as you think affectionately of those who will be nourished by what you prepare. Everyone benefits from fully using your undivided attention.
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