1. Be hungry
I’m talking about an attitude. By hungry, I mean a sense of permission mixed with curiosity: what would you like to eat? Think of it as listening to your stomach’s desires. If you start cooking when you are already physically hungry, you may be in too great a rush to pay attention. Maybe it is really hot and so you feel like having something cool and crisp. What’s in the fridge? Lettuce? Yes, but not enough. Cabbage. Yes, again, and you are well on your way to salad with some sliced red onion or shallot, toasted nuts perhaps, fresh chopped herbs, red wine vinegar and olive oil. Are you cooking to please just yourself or your family? Friends? How much time do you have? To paraphrase one of John Irving’s characters in an early novel: If you start with good ingredients and exercise a reasonable amount of care, you can be fairly sure of a good result.
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