Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Perception of the Whole

Students say, "I just want to learn to read the recipe and chop the vegetables. I can think about what spices to use later." That baffles me. You have to think about the spices from the moment you pick up the knife, because the way you chop--the way you use technique--depends on the spices, even if you add them "later." You make different shapes for nutmeg, tarragon or cilantro.

Open your mouth to sing or deliver a line. Yes, sometimes that gesture is itself a spice, but often it is just a raw ingredient, and it needs to be an appropriate shape to make sense within the larger scope of things. Technique must perceive the whole. Who cares about your knife skills if the dish is bland and tasteless?


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