Step 4: Awareness

See how it goes

What I’m talking about here is having an awareness of what you’re doing and how it’s turning out as you’re going along. Don’t rush through the cooking, thinking about something else, but instead take the time to notice what’s happening.

If you’re cooking onions, they go through different stages of softening, becoming transparent and then starting to caramelise (turn brown). You can smell and taste a stew or sauce as you’re going along to get an idea of whether it needs more salt, herbs or other flavourings. Boiling potatoes can be tested every now and then with a sharp knife to see if they are cooked through yet.

Savour and enjoy

Now’s the time to eat it! If you’ve kept things fairly simple and watched what you’re doing, the chances are you’ll have made something pretty tasty.

If you had been doing an experiment in science, this would be the stage to see what the results are by taking measurements of whatever you’re experimenting on. But the only way to measure a flavour is with our smell and tastebuds, so savour what you’re eating.

The taste of a meal isn’t just a single quantity – lots of different elements add to the overall enjoyment of eating. Most things have a taste and an aftertaste, for example. Texture is important as well as taste. If you’ve put more than one vegetable in a stew, each bite will taste slightly different. As you’re eating, you can think about what you want to do differently next time – maybe a bit less salt, or a bit more chilli powder, or cook the carrots less so they have more bite to them. If you remember things best by writing them down, now’s the time to do it.


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