I’m not a good cook.
“Oh whaaat but you went to CuLINarY ScHoOL??” Alright look, I know it seems weird that I work in the food industry but can’t cook, but think about it for a second. If someone says they went to med school, that can mean a million different things.
I went to culinary school with a focus in pastry and baking arts. My chef instructors were pastry chefs, the curriculum was completely different, and we got a whole different set of tools from the culinary students.
It’s actually not that uncommon that pastry chefs can’t cook, and culinary chefs can’t bake. It’s weird right? They seem like such similar professions but the two careers are actually really different. Pastry and baking is all about exact measurements, details, meticulous and repetitive work. Culinary is about improvisation, experimenting, big movements and lots of flourish. A lot of culinary chefs find pastry tedious. A lot of pastry chefs find cooking too boundless.
Circling back to my first sentence, I’ve never really been a good cook. Cooking didn’t inspire me the way baking did. I would always feel really stumped looking at a mismatch of ingredients in the fridge. I didn’t understand how to season–how do you know how much salt something needs?! You can’t taste raw meat so how do you know it’s seasoned?! Also every time I cooked chicken it tasted like rubber. I realize now that it was just because I was overcooking the crap out of it, but at the time it was really discouraging. I thought cooking chicken was just something that was really hard to do–how pathetic is that.
The worst part is that I like cooking!! I find it so fun and it’s a nice break from having to be exact all the time.
Today was my day off from work and I’ve been trying to save money by cooking at home more. I woke up this morning craving shrimp fried rice so badly. I didn’t have any shrimp in the fridge, but what I did have were a pack of dumpling peels I bought in Chinatown a few weeks ago.
What I’m about to say will greatly offend my ancestors and every other Asian person out there–but I’ve never made dumplings from scratch. IT’S NOT MY FAULT!! It just never came up at home! Our New Year’s tradition is making Filipino lumpia, not dumplings.
Filled with a very sudden and random burst of motivation and inspiration, I decided I’d spend my day off making dumplings. Guess what, they turned out amazing. I will now fill this blog post with just tons of photos of the process.
I’m not a good cook, but I’m getting there. I’m not gonna be a culinary chef–ever–but I want to be at the stage where I can cook for myself and have it not be pasta and grilled cheese sandwiches.
There was no point to this blog post. I just wanted to show off my dumplings really. Also! The Woks of Life is amazing, and I got this pork and chive dumpling recipe from them. Check 'em out!