Look, as much as we'd like to cook like Jamie Oliver with his elegant 'lugs' of olive oil and perfectly cooked eggs, most times it's hard enough just to make dinner for ourselves after work (thank gawd for meal delivery -- and cereal).
You know the kind of recipes we're talking about. Place in a bain-marie, deglaze the pan, a bouquet garni what? Um, most of us are over here are still trying to cook rice properly.
Because it's all about focusing on what we can do, and not what we can't do, here are 14 small, everyday cooking victories worth celebrating.
1. When you flip a fried egg and the yolk doesn't break.
There's nothing worse, NOTHING, than seeing the egg you worked so hard to fry end in a mess of orange. Why, egg, why?
2. When the cake doesn't stick to the pan (and you don't have to excavate with a fork).
As much as eating cake out of the baking tin with a fork is fun, sometimes you just want a slice, you know? Just a whole cake that doesn't have bits savagely ripped out of it. Is it too much to ask?
3. When you don't burn yourself on the hot plate to check if it's still hot.
Every. single. time. "Is the hot plate hot? Oh, lemme just quickly check." But we never learn, except for when the hot plate isn't hot and you leave feeling downright victorious. It's all worth it.
4. When you don't burn the crap out of the onions and ruin the whole meal.
Perfecting the art of caramelising or sauteing onions is up there with climbing Mount Everest. Either the onion is burned to a bitter crisp, or they're a sloppy, tasteless mess. If there's a trick to cook onion so it's on the cusp of tender yet soft, not bitter but not yet sweet, let us know. Thanks.
5. When you don't cry when cutting up onions.
Getting teary when chopping onions is normal, just like crying when re-watching The Lion King for the 50th time. It's just life. But sometimes, SOMETIMES, it doesn't happen. The onion gods have mercy on you and you come out of it, eyes unscathed and dry.
6. When you actually have all the ingredients listed in the recipe.
Ground cumin? Check. Turmeric? Check. Palm sugar? CHECK. Now there's nothing stopping you from making the best meal ever, except for sub-par cooking skills and interminable ability to ruin food, but that's okay!
7. When you boil or poach an egg and the yolk is runny but ALL the white is cooked.
Someone once said the hardest thing to cook perfectly are eggs. We're not sure if they said this to make us all feel better, but it does, so thank you. Which means when you perfectly boil or poach an egg, it makes you feel like a goddamn king. The king of eggs.
8. Getting a chicken crispy on the outside and moist on the inside.
Who needs friends and a love life when you have perfectly crispy, yet moist chicken. Joking, friends and a love life are pretty good, too.
9. When you prep every ingredient and have them all ready to go in bowls.
If you're a type A master procrastinator, you probably take great pleasure in spending half an hour prepping and cutting each ingredient and placing them in ramekins, all ready for cooking. That's great, except for when your girlfriend is hangry, at 8pm, waiting for dinner to JUST BE COOKED.
10. When the avocado is actually good on the inside.
When you pay four bucks for an avocado, you expect it to be bloody brilliant. But avocados don't want that. They want to be watery and under ripe, or horridly overripe with brown spots. So when you open that avocado in the 10 second time frame of ripeness and it's perfect, well, life is perfect.
11. When all the dinner plates are empty (especially if you have kids).
Getting kids to eat your food is tough, mainly because dinner doesn't come in the form of pancakes and ice cream (except when you're an adult because #adultlife). But when you do make a meal that your kids actually enjoy, it's a damn good feeling, even if it only lasts one meal.
12. When you don't burn the rice.
We're all guilty of it: you put on a pot of rice, get lost in a vortex of cat videos and completely forget about it. Sometimes when you're on your A game, though, you get it just right. Fluffy, tender rice. What a time to be alive.
13. When you actually cook a steak medium-rare.
No matter how many times you poke the steak and compare it to your hand (does that hand test really work?), steak always turns out way over cooked, or bloodier than when you bought it. Perfectly cooked steak does happen, usually when you're home alone and there's no one to share your victory with.
14. When a 'I'll just wing it' recipe actually works.
'Nuff said. These moments are pure culinary gold.
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