So I'm really excited to start playing Chopped in my kitchen, right? I take my Foodie Dice and roll them for the first time. I have my first set of ingredients:
Cooking Method - Broil
Seasoning - Rosemary
I'm going to be honest here - I rolled the dice on December 22, and it took me two weeks to do something with the ingredients.
Imagine that. Me, the Coach in the Kitchen™, somebody who cooks every day and experiments with food and recipes all the time, was intimidated by six little dice.
How could that be?
My First Challenge
Get out of my own way.
I usually cook with recipes (with some exceptions). Yes, I tweak recipes for our tastes but, I have a starting place with the recipes.
Watching all the cooking shows and seeing the cooks and chefs pull dishes together from thin air I always thought, "I can do that."
Well, yes, I can. But - and this is a big but - I had to first be willing to fail at cooking.
Who, me? Fail in the kitchen? Impossible! In reality, I have created some dishes we just plain didn't want to eat in the past. We've thrown an entire meal away. Doesn't happen often, but it does happen.
We've both been philosophical when it happens. It happens to best of chefs. And we have plenty of backup options in the freezer. So what was the problem?
I had to step back and look at this.
Emotion came up big time. I was afraid of failing at something I do every day. I was afraid of putting myself out there and being "found out" as a fraud in the kitchen. I was afraid of finding out for myself that I'm not really a good cook.
All of it came up because of one roll of the dice. I confess to shedding tears over being afraid and feeling intimidated. It was hard for me to accept I was feeling this way. It was such a contradiction to how I act and see myself; how I want others to see me.
Part of the fear came from thinking other people (Philip included) would think less of me if I couldn't make something edible.
It doesn't matter how often I hear the TV chefs say they were having an off day. It happens to everybody, even the greats. It just doesn't happen to me.
Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway
Two weeks after rolling the dice I finally bit the bullet and cooked. It wasn't one of my greatest achievements, but it was good. We got to experience polenta for the first time (and liked it). I made a polenta bowl with stirfry vegetables (I added in tomatoes) and broiled chicken. We had a good dinner and even ate the leftovers.
My Biggest Lessons
1. A botched meal does not undo all the successes I’ve had in the past. Even the greats have off days. Most of my friends and anyone who’s eaten at my table would say I’m a great cook. Use my gift for cooking to share my love of it and the joy of sharing and allow my greatness to have off days without making that everything.
2. Growth happens by exploring the source of the fear, really looking at it, then moving forward and not letting the fear be your downfall.
3. Take a risk and be willing to fail. Edison never failed. When an experiment failed, he looked at it as just one more way something didn’t work. It was a learning for him. If I botch a dish, it’s just one more flavor or cooking method that didn’t work. Don’t do it again.
4. Be willing to be vulnerable and share the fears. Philip is probably my greatest cheerleader and support. But even with him, being vulnerable isn’t easy. Showing any chinks in my armor feels dangerous. It’s also the only way to let people in to share my life completely. I want that.