There is this widespread belief that cooking recipes are similar to mathematical equations where the final outcome is proportionally dependent on your ability to juggle with numbers. In my humble graphic designer-ish opinion this is offensively wrong. Mathematics deals with numbers and you could say numbers are in a way independent from the human mind. If civilization goes kaboom and all that’s left on this planet is a flock of flying cockroaches, there is still going to be 1 Sun in the Solar system and 8 planets swirling around it. The same scenario however will render your favorite recipe totally useless.
The big moral of this story is that cooking is a form of art, not a natural science. While there is a good measure of calculation involved, the core of the process is totally dependent on improvisation and taste. This is why I have so much fun comparing it to graphic design – in both cases you have predetermined rules, which common sense tells you are good to follow. But the decision is yours and sometimes breaking a rule might mean discovering something new. Because those rules are nothing more than pre-agreed, artificial concepts.
The point of this pretentious post is very simple – if a recipe requires 25 grams of sugar and you have only 20 in your jar, don’t commit suicide. It will work anyway. Just have fun.
Let’s cut the appetizer – I am not a doctor. Hence you should take my advice with a grain of salt. I don’t even want to call it advice but I’ve been advised to use that word because it feels more authoritative. Whatever. Rule number one in your kitchen life: Enjoy your food! Don’t shove it down your throat. Eating is a complex experience involving so many different receptors attached to your body.
It all begins with your eyes. Your food should look good. I don’t say beautiful because beauty is far too subjective but if your eyes don’t enjoy what’s in front of them, there is a pretty good chance that your throat won’t do that as well. Not to mention your stomach. And don’t tell me sloppily chopped grass in some exotic mud sauce is good for your health and aesthetics doesn’t matter. Never treat food as fuel. Moreover, if you take the time to enjoy the things you eat visually, you would eat slowly.
Second, home cooked meal is generally much better than the prefabricated, carbohydrate-infested, artificially flavored junk most modern people are accustomed to eat. If you cook your meals using fresh products, you are less likely to get fat or have health problems. Of course this requires more time and some extra dedication but if you try to stick to this advice, your body will definitely repay you.
And last but not least, not all of us are meant to look like shrimps. A little fat here and there is not something you should be extremely worried about.