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Life Skills for the Kitchen
“One of the very nicest things about life is the way we must regularly stop whatever it is we are doing and devote our attention to eating.” – Luciano Pavarotti
Life truly can revolve around food. We wake up hungry. We eat breakfast. By 10:00 we are considering lunch. After a bite to eat around noon, we look forward to recharging our batteries a few hours later. Finally, it's time to look forward to dinner. Another day and then the eating cycle begins again.
For those who consider and/or appreciate what one eats, it's easy to believe that cooking equates with life. Our lives may vary with jobs and locality but the essence of food unites all of us. By building relationships while we eat, we can capitalize upon something we all have in common.
From mixing a cocktail prior to an evening of food and fun, to breakfast, lunch and setting a table worthy of gathering around; making the most of what truly is a favorite occasion for all living beings benefits everyone. Knowing and understanding how to prep, serve and eat provides well for everyone.
First, set a table. No, really. Set it with a plate, knife, fork and spoon. Fold a napkin in its proper place. If you are going to eat, do it right. Make it meaningful. Turn off the television and visit with your family. Laugh and linger. Take the time to enjoy the pleasure of the company and the food. "Wheel of Fortune" and "Jeopardy" can be watched another time. Now is the time to revel in the moment of a favorite shared pastime. Please feel free to refer to my article, "Basic Table Setting."
Second cook a main dish. This doesn't mean that just a dinner dish will suffice. We all eat three meals per day. Make a goal to perfect a few that will tide you over AND allow you to share a meal when the occasion arises. Eggs work for breakfast and can be made in many different ways. Figure out what you enjoy most and find a recipe you can work to your liking. HUGE HINT: this may take more than one try. In many cases more than five attempts may be necessary before you feel comfortable. Don't give up. Keep at it, perfecting as you go. Salad always makes a great lunch and works as the perfect side for dinner. So make one - and I don't mean lettuce with some dressing.
Then there is dinner, and no bottled spaghetti sauce and pasta is NOT perfecting a main dish. It is a good start. There is this great resource called the internet. Search spaghetti. Voila! An entire dinner dish, from start to finish is at your fingertips.
Finally, mix a cocktail. And familiarize yourself with wine. You can refer to my highly red wine articles "Wine with Dinner", "Wine in a Restaurant" and "Wine Tasting." Unwinding with a proper cocktail or a glass of wine before dinner (or during dinner prep) is never a bad idea.
An enormous repertoire of extraordinary dishes is not necessary. Start small. Watch one episode of Martha Stewart or the Food Channel and you'll know that starting too large can be intimidating. Go for a dish that you are familiar with - one you've heard of and have at least tried. You want to be sure you know you like it. After that they sky is the limit.
You can work hard at your job and be a hero in the office but that doesn't increase a mutual interest that everyone on the planet shares. Being able to do something well, one that the general population can partake in is an affable conquest. It's one that will benefit you AND those you chose to share your talent with. Bon Appetite.
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