Thursday, July 26, 2012

Practice Makes Perfect

I admit it, I am a perfectionist.  I live by the motto "do it right, so you don't have to do it twice."  I not proud of it, but there are times when my perfectionism actually prevents me from getting things done.  I have been known to forgo entire projects if I don't think that I can make the final product come out just so.

I have been working with a graphic designer to have a professional logo made for SIMK.  I'm really excited about it, but lately I've caught myself telling people that "I am waiting for my logo to be done before I post again" or "I don't want to post until my blog finally looks exactly how I want it to."   Today, I realized that this blog was in danger of becoming one of "those projects" that gets put on the back burner because it's not perfect.  I had to stage my own intervention against myself and write something!  I learned that sometimes doing nothing is far worse than doing something slightly imperfectly.  New motto: "They say that practice makes perfect.  If perfecting something is important to you, do it as many times as you can, you'll increase the likelihood of getting it right!"

As I reflected this afternoon on the concept of perfection, I thought about how daunting, and at times discouraging a task learning to cook can be.  I am a huge fan cooking shows, and celebrity chefs, but the trend in food television these days seems to be all about competition and perfection.  Personally these types of shows bug me.  With few exceptions, they feature a person who is already a pretty great cook (if you ask me,) and a panel of judges that tell the poor soul that their food is tasteless or looks unappetizing.   To me the offending food usually looks much better than what I make most of the time.  Does that mean that those of us who struggle to cook basic dishes should just give up on the hope of ever making a great meal?  NO!  We must however get in the kitchen and give new recipes a try.  That great meal won't make itself. 

Unfortunately, turning off your television and stepping into the kitchen may not be all it takes to make cooking feel less intimidating.  Maybe you see a photo of a beautifully styled dish in a magazine and think about how discouraging it will be if yours doesn't come out quite the same way.  Maybe you want to learn to cook, but are waiting for the perfect set of knives to be given to you for Christmas.  Maybe you think your kitchen is too small, and you keep telling yourself that once you move you'll try to make a few dishes.  Maybe you think that your budget limits the number of  ingredients that you can purchase, so you will wait until you have some extra money to buy pantry basics to start cooking with.  Whatever it is that makes you anxious about cooking or changing your diet, you can find a way to work around it.  Really, you can, but you have to want to, and you have to start sometime.  Why not today?

Start by thinking positively about your own personal culinary adventure.  Stop perfection seeking and begin actually perfecting something.  You'll never make that WOW dinner if you never, ever make dinner.  Remember to allow yourself a few flops, and learn from them.  Start today.  The the perfect time, perfect kitchen, perfect recipe, or perfect set of Le Creuset cookware may never come, so get over it and get started now!!!  Find a recipe with a few ingredients that you are familiar with, that requires tools and time that you have available, and make it.  It's that simple.  

And what about me?  I have set a goal for myself to post every Thursday evening, perfect or not.  Feel free to make me eat my own words if I don't deliver. 

And I'm writing...