Cooking is both an art and a science, we can better understand it as a science, but there is no way to take away its creativity. The art of cooking not only pleases our eyes but also the palate. The visual representation of the kitchen lends itself to art. Since then, cooking has become my biggest passion.
I hadn't realized it until recently, but cooking is unique in its ability to be a form of art, science and social event; it allows me to explore my creative side while remaining practical. I suspect another reason I love cooking is because of my love of science. You can only become a great chef through the scientific method. Researching why certain ingredients impart certain flavors or create certain reactions, and then recreating those experiments by trying them out in the kitchen, is what led me to read hundreds of pages of cookbooks and then test the recipes with friends and family.
A good example of this is one of my favorite recipes, Spaghetti Aglio e Olio. The only ingredients are pasta, olive oil and garlic. If you just threw these three ingredients randomly into a frying pan without any prior knowledge, you would end up with an oily, garlicky mess. But once you learn to retain water from pasta cooking because it contains leftover starch, which emulsifies fatty olive oil, creating a heavenly creamy sauce that then sticks to the pasta, you can create a delicious dish worthy of any date night.
Like any other skill, cooking requires hundreds of accumulated experiences and failed attempts to develop even a basic mastery of the skills needed to prepare a tasty dish. From learning to throw food in a frying pan, learning to use a knife, to understanding how much salt I need to add, I can point to a myriad of spills, grease fires, cuts, over-salted dishes, and disgusting combinations that I had to go through to learn what I know now. It is this constant evolution and final mastery that makes me cook over and over again. Returning to Duckworth's book, she writes: “The passion for your work is a bit of discovery, followed by a lot of development, and then a life of deepening.
Now that I know that I can make good food after years of developing my skills, I have reached a point where I always try to push the limits; modify that recipe a little here, try a new cooking method there. Whenever I do something, I always change the way I do things, I always run after the ideal, knowing that I will never achieve it.