Thursday, February 23, 2012

Micro Blog: Caroline Laski

Everyone Can Draw. Everyone Can Cook.

When I was in high school I took a drawing class at a local college. The class was taught by an elderly man with a keen eye for form and a passion for teaching. As I sat in a classroom full of people I had never met, unknowing of their skill levels, I began to wonder if taking the class was just going to be a series of humiliations based on my humble attempts. The best advice this old man gave to us, which is something I've never forgotten, is that "everyone can draw". Perhaps it sounds naive when you first hear it, but if you think about it, the message is clear.

I believe cooking can be compared to drawing. From my own experience, I began learning to cook in a tiny college apartment kitchen. At that time, I mostly cooked white rice topped with canned tuna mixed with mayonnaise (speaking of humble attempts!). Growing up, this was a simple and inexpensive dish my Mom invented in our kitchen. In college, I didn't really devote much thought, time, or effort to cooking; I was more focused on doing well in school, spending time with my boyfriend, and having fun.

Time went on and circumstances changed. I began watching The Food Network every day at lunch while I job searched. I can't exactly say why I made this my routine, but the food always looked delicious, and I was excited to learn something new from each episode. It inspired me to try cooking with a different approach.

One day, I just began experimenting. I made mistakes. I accidentally "caught" a falling knife and had to get stitches. I made dishes that my husband kindly ate, but I wouldn't touch with a two-foot pole. I kept trying, and with each attempt I learned and things became easier. I learned what I later found out was officially termed "mise en place" (prepping ahead of time and getting ingredients organized before cooking), and now I can't cook without doing it. Practice paid off, and soon I had the confidence not only to cook a real homemade meal for my in-laws, but also to host multiple-course dinner parties centered around my latest and greatest discoveries I'd been eager to share with friends. Coming to the realization that every book I was reading and everything I enjoyed doing and talking about centered around food finally convinced me to switch fields and set sail in the direction of my dreams.

The moral of this story is many people will tell you that they can't draw or cook, but I believe that everyone can. If I can start with a can of tuna, you can too.

1 comment:

  1. Inspiring words Caroline. I believe as well that everyone can cook. With a positive attitude and hard work, skills can be taught.

    My first attempt as a kid to make a "gourmet" dish, and I use that term loosely looking back was a tuna cake made from canned salmon in our family pantry.

    It was one afternoon when my parents finally thought I was old enough to be left at home(a decision they would regret in later years) and I decided to make dinner for them. I remember watching Julia Child on TV growing up and tried to mimic some of her techniques. At the time I thought it was great, but to this day still remember it as the defining moment where I knew I wanted to learn to cook.

    I give you and all of your fellow classmates a lot of credit who have made career changes or are back in school learning a new field.

    Chef Paul