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Sunday, January 1, 2012

Game Face

               Sure, cooking is a fun way to use up a few hours especially if you can include a family member or friend.  Accommodating everyone’s particular needs in a menu you write, shopping for ingredients, the pressure of cooking for relatives (possibly a mother-in-law?) and you are surrounded by many hot and sharp things that are all waiting for you to slip up.  Fun right?  Only if you have properly applied your game face. 

                The game face is the result of much time spent planning and organizing a meal.  It’s envisioning yourself doing each step of the prep and cooking process before you physically reach that point.  Time spent visualizing every knife cut and flip of the sauté pan in advance will cement into your subconscious an attack plan.  This enables you to predict possible hang ups and upsets and make adjustments so that they can be avoided down the road.  Most professionals already have a habit of doing this for their everyday jobs. 

You’re going to make a mushroom tart?  Well then you’ll want to have the tart dough made at least hours ahead of time so that it can rest.  While it’s resting, think about the pans you’ll need, rolling pin to shape your tart to the proper size and thickness, a small cup of flour, and your tart filling made and cooling.  Assemble these all together in a kit and at the ready so that you have everything you need for culinary success.  If you’re cooking a large dinner, you may run out of oven space half way through prep time but by planning ahead you can make adjustments to the menu or process in order to account for the fact that you only have one oven and a limited number of racks.

I go to bed each night and drive to work each morning planning out my day so that when I get there, I’m already grabbing the pans and turning on the ovens for the first tasks that I want to accomplish.  A lot of coworkers tell me that I look “pissed off” while I am working.  I do have the brow creases to prove it.  In truth, I’m just very focused.  Usually not on the task at hand, but one that is 10 steps away.  My furrowed brow is my game face.  What’s yours?    

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