Besides making eggs, I've not cooked since I moved back to India in 2011. It's not that I am terrible. I was, but then I got good at following a recipe. I'd find something that's dumbed down enough for me, and make a grocery list and get cooking.

Person reads cookbook recipe
Photo by Dan Gold / Unsplash

I got pretty good at the process of doing all this. The actual cooking went from edible to rather more edible. I just don't understand much of it. I will just follow the recipe. And so, I'll never take any shortcuts (bad, I think). I won't know a few simple, daily, obvious sub-routines (like converting tomato into a paste). I will look them up all the time.

So, the food will never equal the sum of the parts but mostly thanks to a solid recipe, I got the job done.

I realised this as I was watching my wife cook. She's making a gourd kofta, which sounds like an oxymoron to me. That's just establishing my lack of systemic education (since I like using the word) or maybe just common sense in cooking. Whatever it is, I don't have it.

She's not cooked much in these 8+ years as well but she knows it enough, sees enough patterns, has enough imagination, speaks this language - she will just whip things up based on what we have at home, and occasionally glance at a recipe for company. She makes amazing food! I prep and do dishes - that's par for my skill level.

It's fun to see, as it is an example of things one gets and things you do not get. Mostly because you just didn't spend time understanding it.

And since I can never not connect it to strength training, here we go.

Follow a recipe = follow a training plan by a great (or at least legitimate) strength coach. Do it for a few months - that's definitely mentioned in the plan. Whether you get strength training or not, you will get the job done. You do your best, and that's  good enough.

If you want a lot more out of it, then you need to put more into it. For me, that means I need to understand the fundamentals of cooking, and then practice a few recipes repeatedly. Or whatever steps 1 and 2 are, I don't even know that. But it needs time and mental effort.

Currently, I don't have it. Instead, I cut the veggies, keep the timer, and wash the dishes. And when needed, follow a recipe.