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Bon appétit

Everyone can make a delicious dish!

manuelita otero

Have you ever found yourself looking at Pinterest or different cookbooks for recipes at the last minute before a get together in your home?  Sometimes we make our life a little more difficult than it should be, don’t you think?  Why would we try a new recipe when we are having guests? Some years ago I would get so nervous about inviting friends over for dinner, so I would search for recipes that looked good and seemed easy enough for me to cook, but since I wasn’t sure how they would turn out, I would always make two main dishes to be safe.  I am so happy that with time comes experience and confidence, so now when we have friends coming over; I know I will prepare guacamole.  And even though that is not a main dish, I can easily create a meal around it and I know that is what my friends want because that is what they have asked me to bring. I used to think people would get bored if I kept making the same thing every time, but if they keep asking for it, I will keep bringing it, because that's my strength.

Focusing on our culinary strengths gives us peace, efficiency, and helps us enjoy what we are doing.  When we cook a meal to share, it is not just about feeding people; we want to make someone happy with what we have prepared. We are opening ourselves for others to “judge” what we are making, and that can leave us in a vulnerable spot.  If cooking is our strength then there is no drama, but if we think we are “not good at” cooking or we don’t know our strengths, then it can be a little more difficult.  But with some practice we can all find that special dish that everyone is going to be craving and asking for.  Finding it may be a process, but a fun one. 

My seventeen year old daughter is starting this process and we are all having a wonderful time eating the dishes she is cooking. Since she loves Asian cuisine, she decided to specialize in that.  Her first dish was sesame noodles, she chose it because they were the easiest noodles to prepare and barely had any ingredients; therefore, according to her, it was easier not to mess it up.  The first meal she prepared for us was… Let’s just say that I was happy I didn’t have to cook that night, and we were excited to see her try. We congratulated our upcoming chef and encouraged her for the next week.  That week she made the same noodles, but this time they had a delicious taste and the kitchen was full of a delicious aroma that left us all impressed. She was so excited when she saw us happily eating her dish and she confessed that after the first try she was tempted to stop cooking because she had felt so badly about the initial result.  The next week she decided to challenge herself and try something different than noodles, fried rice which turned out delicious, and the next week she came out of the kitchen with an amazing coconut noodle soup, the perfect combination of ginger and coconut milk that made us sad there weren’t any leftovers.  Practice makes perfect.

It's more than cooking, it's more than food.  I spent so many years believing I couldn’t cook and avoiding inviting friends or family over because I was embarrassed.  Everyone can make a delicious dish. Take time to discover your strength, find a group of friends that will be happy to share your cooking journey and enjoy it.  

Manuelita @manuelitaotero