Oftentimes in the past I would find myself making dishes that were initially quite pleasing and satisfactory. They contained the usual mix of ingredients and provided a stable but rather uninteresting and routine expression of taste.
This would reveal itself in a flat, one dimensional way, that would leave the individual only partially satisfied. Much of the spontaneity was simply ignored or left out. Part of this was due to adherence to tradition and to a fear of failure. A possible wasting of food was avoided at the cost of future joys of exploration into the unknown.
As I began to experiment I soon realized that in the long run it was well worth the risk. Like an ancient explorer traversing uncharted territory for the first time it became apparent that part of the fun was the mystery itself. To peel back the layers, to get at the core of the essence of the thing and expose it in new and novel ways.
Sweet and savory first took shape when I purchased some Havarti cheese and strawberries. While both on their own are worthy of praise and enjoyment, nothing can compare to the ensuing discussion after they have been combined! It was like the ascension from pop music to a classical symphony with all of its nuanced complexities and revelations. It was truly a transcendental experience for me.
I then immediately applied this knew knowledge to a particular dish I had been working on. It begins with thinly sliced mushrooms, shallots, garlic, onions, honey cured bacon, and chicken all sauteed in bruschetta infused olive oil. Then spinach and arugula topped with two scoops of sour cream, one scoop of vanilla yogurt, and a light dash of pepper on top. Included are two pita bread halves warmed in butter. The two ingredients that I would have never added before became a big asset: the strawberries and Havarti cheese.
By adding new and seemingly contradictory ingredients my cooking experience has been greatly enhanced. It has allowed for the spontaneity of the palette, essentially keeping things off-balance and interesting.
Now granted I have tried other combinations with less success but my attitude towards failure has become one more of acceptance and a realization that it was less of a failure and more of a learning opportunity for the future.
Here’s to happy cooking and happy eating. Enjoy!