I’m Not a Cook, I’m Just a Critic

Bill made dinner the other night, which is quite common in our household as I try to avoid burners and ovens and such.  Most evenings consist of the most basic of ingredients, which include a version of a meat, starch, and veggie.

This night though, he decided to replicate a dish he saw from the show, ‘Chopped’. Now, he will tell you how much he does not enjoy this reality show centered on cooking and competition, but, he never seems to leave the room when I have the occasional control of the remote control.

If you are unfamiliar, each chef competes by cooking a meal from specific items inside in a basket. They do not know what these are beforehand; sometimes the ingredients are interesting. Sometimes they are plain gross.

The purpose is to create something exquisite to the tastebuds for the judges.

Easier said than done.

This particular night, one chef creates a delightful dish using kale. Yes, the leafy green weed with bitter aftertaste.

The chef amazed the judges with his digestive genius.

So, Bill decides to recreate this side dish, and eagerly awaits my reaction to his recreation:

First bite…

“You need to cook the kale less, not put in as much vinegar, add a little salt, oh, and don’t use so much garlic.”

“Other than that, it is good.”

Now, you may wonder, who are you to critically critique his cooking anyway?

Well, I do watch ‘Chopped’. I guess this makes me an expert of sorts. Maybe not as a chef, but more like one of the judges.

Seriously, they can take the best of dishes and chop away at them by nitpicking small details of the dish until it is less palatable. Like a plate that is not pretty enough, or maybe one discovers a bone in her Salmon (oh heaven forbid), or, the meat is undercooked.

The complaints vary from judge to judge.

And each chef responds to said complaints differently.  Some stand there and take it with a smile, while others pridefully defend their dishes. Then, there are those who slowly slump as their ego is chopped away of all confidence.

All from the critique of a food critic.

In all reality I have difficulty cooking with decent ingredients, so who am I to judge?

Maybe our inner critic need not to be so critical of others.

That, and it got me thinking–some of us have less-than-desirable items in our baskets to work with:

  • We were born in less-than-ideal surroundings.
  • We were raised in dysfunctional households.
  • We’ve been mistreated by those who were supposed to treat us well.
  • We’ve lost loved ones entirely too soon.
  • We’ve lost our innocence at the hand of another.
  • We have disabilities that hinder our abilities.

Since we don’t fully know what is inside a person, maybe we should be careful how we communicate.

There was a time, a long time ago, in a kitchen far away, this young wife thought a clove of garlic was the whole bulb, and proceeded to chop it up, and put the entire thing into my first attempt at Shepherd’s Pie.

And, this same hubby of mine ate every bite without a negative dissertation on the measurements of garlic. Albeit, he is Italian, and garlic is embedded in his DNA.

I am certain he had a bad case of bad breath. But, still.

How can we build up instead of chopping away at the core of a person’s being?

A wise man penned a verse years ago that has yet to lose its flavor:

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,sweetness to the soul and health to the body. Proverbs 16:24

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