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Perfectionist? Just Cook!

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don't be a perfectionist just cook iStockphoto/Thinkstock

Some years ago my sister took a course at the French School of Fine Culinary Arts in New York City. They learned all about fine (and basic) cooking skills including everything from proper handling of a knife to creation of delicate sauces.

She used to tell me stories about her classes there and her somewhat gruff but well-meaning instructor.

One day when they were preparing a delicate sauce there were about a dozen students carefully combining ingredients in a specific sequence and in a specific way when one of the students had a question.

She wasn’t sure exactly how much salt to add, was it one pinch or two? The instructor glared at her and yelled out for the entire class to hear, “Just cook!”

I heard that story some years ago but the full meaning of it didn’t dawn on me until recently. My wife has had a few setbacks in the past months and I have found myself doing more and more cooking.

Every now and then I have a question about one thing or another and that phrase comes into my head, “Just cook!” and I realize that in the grand scheme of things it just doesn’t matter if it’s exactly right. The result is what really matters -- if it’s good, it’s good!

This applies in a much bigger sense than simply in the kitchen. How many things do we anguish over every day, trying to get them “just right?”

Just cook! It probably doesn’t matter in the end, and you can save a lot of time and stress by simply placing your emphasis on doing it well, rather than doing it right.

Go forth, my friends, and JUST COOK!

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