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The Secret Ingredient is Practice

My friend writes an AMAZING blog pertaining to cooking

You can sign up here

Joy’s post …..


Last week, when I was wrapping up my summer rolls, I thought of a time earlier this year when I got into making burritos. A burrito rolling novice, I searched YouTube for instructional videos that painted a clear picture of the best techniques for making a tight, neat burrito.

It wasn’t really my mind that flashed back to the burritos; it was my hands, the muscle memory formed by folding and turning the tortillas over and over. The summer rolls required the same movements, though the gossamer texture and stickiness of the rice paper added a challenge.

Over the years, the words “You’ll get a feel for it,” have been spoken into my ear by chefs, teachers, and other culinary mentors as I’ve wrestled with sticky dough, recalcitrant pastry, and infuriatingly tiny pasta shapes.

In time, that instruction revealed itself as literal. It refers to your fingers and hands, the sense of touch. Nerve endings, skin, muscle, and bone. And one more thing: Practice.

I’ve gained a surprisingly large amount of cooking wisdom from someone who barely cooks at all. My sister, an accomplished Ashtanga yogi and teacher, knows little about food but she knows a lot about practice. In Ashtanga yoga, the same series of poses is repeated–daily–until it is known not in the students’ mind but memorized in the muscle fibers of her limbs. Only then will the teacher introduce the next level of poses.

I wish home cooking was taught or even talked about in this same way. The breezy language used by food writers creates the false impression that a recipe or technique is “foolproof” if you follow the steps. But most recipes, particularly ones that rely heavily on cooking skills, omit a vital ingredient, practice. The last line of all recipe instructions should read, “Repeat, until you get a feel for this, the end product shows noticeable improvement, and you experience a sense of confidence and mastery.”

New home cooks get so discouraged when they make mistakes or a dish doesn’t meet their expectations. But it isn’t that anyone is a “bad cook” or has “no talent.” It’s only practice. Not knowing what to call it because it’s so rarely described, some people label it “failure.” And they quit cooking.

Back to last week’s summer rolls. I did bring a lot of burrito rolling experience to the project, but practicing with the rice paper was different. I should have told you this last week, but I tore plenty of those wrappers. I scraped out the filling, threw away the rice paper, and began again. I know now what new home cooks are slow to learn: practice is the secret sauce. It isn’t failure; it’s learning.

I leave with you a recipe I hope you’ll make part of your home cooking practice. It’s one I recently wrote about for the Washington Post, and you can find it here. Looking back over this article, I didn’t write about practice directly. But I can see myself thinking about it if I read between the lines.

If you give it a try, share it on social media with the hashtag #eatvoraciously. I would appreciate your help bringing clicks to my work.

Until next time, I hope to see you around the internet!


April 2018 Kindness Calendar

Enjoy 🙂


1/2/18 ** Kindness Calendar 2018 January! **

Enjoy the 2018 Kindness Calendar. Fee Free to Share.
I make copies & deliver to each neighbor (80!).
Friend Shannon is doing the same in neighborhood (75!)


November Kindness Calendar

Enjoy this Month’s KINDNESS CALENDAR

feel free to share 🙂


Kindness Calendar April 2017

“Kindness is not an act, it’s a lifestyle.”
~ Anthony Douglas Williams

In case anyone needs a Kindness Calendar – her ya go!!!!

April Kindness Calendar. A month of Kindness. What could be better????

Enjoy !!!


November 2016 stolen purse, doggie playdates, dani rae, Eaglefest, Sports…….

November 2016

Not the greatest start to the month.
I guess it can only get better……While I was visiting a customer someone
smashed my car window & stole my handbag.

The GOOD NEWS was – I got back my handbag
with everything in it, minus the money, of course.

Dani Rae attended a Princess Party.
We attended BACONFEST!

The dogs enjoyed it & Weasel took 3rd place
in a costume contest.

Dani Rae wearing Weasel’s costume.
A lion’s mane.
Getting cheap entertainment with Chester.
Nice eyebrows…..
Party with neighbor Deb.

I forget what we were celebrating!

showing off my new LuLaRoe tights.
fancy pants….
neighbor Deb & I attended Eaglefest in Maryland.
Me & Deb at Eagle Fest
Playdate with Weasel.

She wasn’t a fan of me holding Finnegan.

AFTER the playdate
a new ‘do 🙂
Playdate with neighbor dog Savannah
Dani Rae being a BRIDE
baby Sawyer’s first Thanksgiving
chilly bike ride in November
Football Game the Saturday after Thanksgiving
Weasel & Blue another playdate

More powerful than the will to win is the courage to begin.

~unknown authorship