Ok, so yesterday my mom wrote this post about how she like, doesn't need to follow cooking rules or some madness like that. She claims her cooking is not only fine, but good, rules be damned.
I grew up eating her food. I turned out fine. She rarely repulsed me (except by refusing to believe that I hate broccoli and cauliflower until I was well into my 20s) and some of her dishes remain my all-time favorite meals to eat (her Greek Pizza and granola are unrivaled in my opinion). However, the woman isn't a professional. She just isn't. And, as her concession that letting dairy products warm to room temperature before baking does, in fact, improve the end product suggests, maybe the pros are onto something.
I have spent the better part of the last 6 years in a kitchen. A RESTAURANT kitchen, no less. And while the place where I've worked is no-frills, it's also deeply committed to consistency. The food looks and tastes pretty much the same regardless of who has made it. What's the key? Following rules.
I've also spent the last 6 years cohabiting with a guy who has spent more years in professional kitchens than I think he'd like me to count and announce to you all (ok, he probably doesn't care...I'm just too lazy to figure it out on my own). John almost never uses a recipe and, my inferiority complex aside, I think I've finally figured out why: he knows the rules. There are these hard, fast, reliable truths about food and preparation processes that have seeped so deeply into him that he no longer needs to be propped up by a recipe. A recipe, after all, is basically just telling you what rules to follow.
And here's the thing: My mom is a good cook. I'm an alright cook. John, though, is a great cook. The man throws things together in the kitchen that make my knees weak, and he does it all without breaking a sweat.
One final point before I rest my case. This post might have a bunch of type-os in it that I don't catch. Want to know why? Because I used a too-big knife on a too-small cutting board and hacked off the tip of my finger the other day. THINK ON THAT.