Lets look at food and cooking from a slightly different perspective for a minute. Step back and out and broaden our point of view on what’s really going on…..
Every recipe you work with comes down to the basic understanding of this. You’re taking various substances (acids, proteins, starches, sugars, etc) in various structures ( a protein could be a piece of fish or a pork loin) and transmutating it with heat.
The reason that you need to understand this is for all the talk about the science of food, every piece of fish you touch is going to be slightly different, a slightly different diet and lifestyle, age, sex. You have to be able to pay attention and listen to the food. It takes a bit of time and practice but after you’ve made a dish a few times it becomes second nature, you know how long something needs to go to be perfect.
Once you start to see how things work together and respond to various methods, then you really get to start to play around. You start to say “If this works like this, then I can take this and do this and make something new and awesome!!!” and this is when cooking gets fun.
Bread is a great example, after you’ve made a few dozen loaves the recipe is pointless, you know how hot the water needs to be, how long to let the yeast go, how long it needs to proof and how hard to knead it. You put part of yourself in it, you connect with it and this is how you’re able to connect with the people who eat it. You can’t fake this, this is why fresh homemade bread is always better than anything made in a factory.
When you’re cooking, keep these things in mind, pay attention to what you are doing and most of all, enjoy the process.