Cooking is like love. It should be entered into with abandon or not at all.
-Harriet Van Horne
If upon meeting someone new, upon beginning to venture down the path, if you could see how it would turn out...if you could know at the start that it would end badly, would you still put yourself into it? Would you walk away at the onset, without truly allowing yourself to discover it and experience it? In relationships, we're far too cautious and guarded for fear of getting hurt and being disappointed. We turn uncertainties into realities and assume we know how things will turn out. In reality, the presence of surprises and the lack of guarantees dictate our behaviors much more than we ever could.
Approaching food and cooking brings about the same set of reluctances and reactions. When faced with something new, the unease at what awaits can be our ultimate detriment. Similarly, the assumption that we know how something will taste, or how a recipe will turn out, can cause inflexibility and disappointment at the final result.
Put aside the fear of the unknown. Situations, be they encountered in life or in the kitchen, can be approached two ways. They can be entered into with trepidation and the misguided knowledge that failure is a definite. They can also be met with a combination of bravery and wit, knowing that facing them head on while accepting that the course may have unexpected twists, will leave only the option of traveling the course as it's offered.
Being a success in the kitchen requires having an open mind. It requires the ability to handle a missing ingredient, to adapt the taste and texture when it's just not quite right, and to accept with graciousness and ease a dish that doesn't work out like you thought it would. When the presence of fear is forgotten - even momentarily - trying something new can be exciting instead of terrifying, freeing us from the restrictions we place upon ourselves. Who knows? You might like what you find.
I'm ashamed that I have recently let this documentary of Merrill's first year go by without photos and stories. With each day that passes, I realize I'm ye...