I like simple, fail-safe recipes which are easy to manipulate—add or subtract ingredients depending on what’s available or what I’m in the mood for. A lot of people advocate following a recipe to the letter a couple of times before improvising, but I like to live dangerously—within reason, of course. 😉 I hope you have an adventuresome culinary soul and be willing to experiment, too.
Sometimes I like to imagine that my grandmother is near and guiding me as I cook. She was a phenomenal cook and people would often drop by to taste whatever she made. One of my fondest memories was seeing an ocean of ingredients spread throughout my mom’s kitchen as she prepared different types of kimchee. I only wish I had the foresight to film her as she performed her magic.
As often as people would try to replicate her efforts, it would never be the same. My grandmother often talked about sohn-maht (which roughly translates to “hand-taste”) that makes the difference between something tasting ok vs. amazing. It’s like having a special instinct to know when to check for doneness or to add a little more liquid to prevent something from drying or to add a little more of particular seasoning to bring out the best flavor. Sometimes it can be the difference of a person’s love that comes through his/her cooking. As much as one cannot ignore the science of cooking and the number one rule of using the freshest and best ingredients possible, one cannot discredit the power of sohn-maht.
Some people naturally have it, while others don’t. But like with anything in life, if you are truly passionate and are willing to work hard, I believe you can develop it.
As I’ve gotten older, I realize how diet affects so many things—energy, aging process, and ultimately one’s quality of life. I’ve made a vow to myself to work hard to try to make smart food choices regularly, and at the same time, be open to the occasional indulgence/treat.
I hope to share recipes that feed the body and soul and will let you know of any good books that I happen to encounter.