For most cooks, there is one recipe that they just can’t seem to get right. It doesn’t matter how many times they try, or how brilliantly the rest of their cooking efforts tend to go, there’s always one: their white whale.
If you, like so many others, have a white whale recipe, then here are a few tips that could help you overcome it once and for all…
#1 – Change your recipe
Recipes are essentially a list of instructions and nothing more; the true finesse comes from the skill of the cook. However, if you have followed a particular recipe before and been disappointed with the results, then it’s worth switching things up and trying a different version. There are countless recipes across the internet, so whether you’re looking to bake marvellous macarons, an awesome apple pie, or a brilliant beef wellington, you should be able to find a recipe you can try.
#2 – Avoid substituting ingredients
Substitutions are part and parcel of the cooking experience; you find a recipe you want to follow but don’t have all the ingredients, so you swap in a suitable alternative. However, while substitutions are generally fairly reliable, if you’re looking to overcome a white whale, going down-the-line and following the recipe exactly can make things easier. By following the recipe exactly, you can just focus on each instruction as it is and make sure you are seeing the expected result at each step along the way.
#3 – Focus solely on the task at hand
Most cooks tend to do a few things at once when cooking; they may check their emails, clean a few spots in the kitchen, listen to the radio, or have the TV on in the background. There’s no harm in doing these things of course – they can all help to enhance the cooking experience, after all – but when you’re tackling a white whale, a singular focus can be more beneficial.
#4 – Remove the pressure
In terms of mindset, it’s helpful to see any attempt at a white whale as a bit of fun – something that you’re doing for the pleasure of cooking, rather than as something you are relying on. For example, if beef wellington is your white whale, then ensure you have a backup meal in your freezer ready to go. If the beef wellington does work out, fantastic, you’ve caught your white whale and dinner is ready to go; if it doesn’t, not a problem, your backup means that there’s no need to start cooking a replacement meal from scratch. Relying on a white whale increases the feeling that you have to get it right which, oddly enough, can actually make it more likely that something will go awry.
#5 – Try, try, and try again
Sometimes, the only way to conquer a white whale is to keep trying. While this can be quite a disheartening process, the more you go through the recipe, the better idea you’ll be able to get of what is required to actually produce the finished result. Even if it takes awhile, eventually, you’ll get there, and will be able to enjoy the result of your hard work and effort!