Is there even such a thing as a failure in the kitchen?
Running a wholefood shop (like we do, in case you didn't know) is cool for very many reasons.
One of the coolest is that you have easy access to all sorts of yummy ingredients. Yep, we stock our shelves with what we like to eat ourselves! For this very reason we went to quite some length to find a supplier of organic veggies which were previously (and ironically) very hard to find in our rural part of the world. (Turns out many other people were looking for just that too.) The downside is that we get to eat a lot of the shop's 'left-overs': Random gluts of this or that. Often, the kind of stuff that is perfectly fine once you cut off the bits that have turned soft, spotty or brown.
Yesterday it was mushrooms and green peppers. Lots of them, so a mushroom-pepper dinner was on the cards. I didn't bother to look up any recipe ideas, I just threw it all in a pot, as I do (starting with a base of onions, garlic & spices, of course). The result was... OK. Kind of tasty and certainly edible, but that was about it. Not living up to my (self-imposed) expectation of 'totally amazing every time'. I wasn't too impressed. Uh ho.
Now, was that a 'failure'? Just because it was 'ok' rather than 'amazing'? Is there even such a thing as a failure in the kitchen?
In my experience, cooking is a very forgiving activity and real kitchen disasters are very rare. Most failures are perfectly edible and even kind of tasty. Like that mushroom-pepper thing I made.
'Not quite right' dinners are something to learn from, for sure. I have been mulling over what might have worked better. I can't blame the 'wrong' ingredients though: if you care to look up 'mushrooms and green pepper recipes' there are plenty of recipes using just that combi9nation. Still, somehow the ingredients didn't quite come together. Too much contrast and not enough balance, I suspect. Maybe adding rice (fried rice style) would have been better. Or choosing different flavourings (e.g. soy sauce instead of tomato). Or adding a lot more tomato: tomato with mushrooms & peppers is not the same as mushrooms & peppers with tomato. The devil is in the detail, as they say. Just a small tweak can make a huge difference.
But that doesn't make it a failure. You might fail to match your expectations (does it taste like at that restaurant? does it look like in that photo? is it as good as my mum's/my friend's/that chef's version?) but this is all subjective, and frankly, irrelevant. There is only one question that matters: is it tasty? It doesn't have to be 'amazing' tasty every time. 'OK tasty' is enough. And if it is tasty enough, then you have achieved what matters: a tasty, nourishing meal.
And I'm off now to make a mushroom-and-green-pepper pizza.
PS. EDIT to add: That pizza turned out delicious! So it made the photo slot too :)