Goal Setting And The Food Network

I am a simple man. That isn’t meant to say that I’m not bright; I maintain an extensive list of people who are willing to say that about me. Please get in touch if you are interested becoming part of the list.

The point of the simple man statement is to say that it doesn’t take much to make me happy. I don’t want fancy things. I live in jeans, t-shirts, baseball caps and tennis shoes. My beloved Miata is fifteen years old. I’m quiet. If I’ve got music playing, something to write about and an English muffin with peanut butter, I’m content.

Simple, Not Dead

Chipmunk. It’s what’s for dinner. (image public domain)

But that doesn’t mean that I don’t have goals. Even a simple guy like me needs direction, something he is shooting for. I have that.

Despite my thing for English muffins with peanut butter, I love good food. I enjoy cooking, learning recipes and cooking techniques. I will binge watch cooking shows with the idea that somehow I will learn something from watching a trained chef create something out of ingredients that I never knew existed or that repulse me.

And while I occasionally pick up an idea from watching an Iron Chef whip up a couple of plates of chipmunk filet accompanied by hazelnut smoked asparagus with a raspberry and fig foam, what I’ve mostly gotten from cooking shows are goals.

I’ve achieved my goal of setting up a mise-en-place before I cook. Everything is “put in place” before anything hits a mixing bowl – ingredients chopped and in individual bowls, seasoning measured, equipment at the ready. The kitchen looks like a cooking show. When I do this, I cook better and get all the parts of my meal on the plate at the same time(ish).

My Cool, But Simple Goals As A Cook

Mise-en-place (image via…click to get a clearer explanation of the idea)

One day, I will master kitchen knives. I’m improving. If I cut up a pepper, my cuts are getting closer to equal in size. Once I get accuracy down, I will add speed. Perhaps most significantly to anyone who I might cook for, I very rarely cut myself anymore after that time I learned that you can cut through your own fingernail.

But my ultimate goal as a cook is simpler, yet more elusive than not severing my fingertips. I don’t want to perfect souffle. I don’t want to make a crème fraîche. I don’t want to roast the perfect chipmunk. No, none of those things. Simple man, simple goal.

My goal is be able to do that thing where chefs mix the stuff in a pan by just shaking it. I’m sure you know what I’m talking about; they grab the handle, sort of shove the pan forward and everything in it flies up and lands back in the pan.

I imagine myself putting dinner together while my wife and I chat. I’m adding my ingredients to my pan, things are going along nicely. And then, without missing a word of our conversation, I grab the pan and give it a shake. The elements of my dish cut a colorful arc over the stove and land back in the pan. There is a pause in the talk at this point as she recognizes my achievement…


Simple man. Simple goal.

After that, I’ll learn how to make flames shoot out of my pan without burning the cabinets. I can work on that while she’s at the office.



10 Comments on “Goal Setting And The Food Network”

  1. The fire extinguisher is in the pantry hanging beneath the sleeve of plastic bags. Just in case. 😉

  2. lbwoodgate says:

    Then you have the movie “Chef” on top of your viewing list, provided you haven’t already seen it, right?

  3. I want to be able to toss my food, too. It looks cool and saves washing a million utensils. Sorry about your fingernail, though. Bummer!

  4. knace says:

    My dog Blossom wanted me to tell you that chipmunk is always best served tartar, anyway. =)

  5. Acrobatic cooking is quite like mixing drinks a la “Cocktail” style. Tom Cruise will have to take lessons from you to keep up in the kitchen. You can add me to the list of people who think you are quite bright.

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