My mother was a great cook.
She learn the art of cooking – and let me tell you; cooking is an art – from her mother.
And her mother learned it from her mother before her.
And thus the art was refined for thousand of years.
When I came to USA probable the second thing I missed most after her love was her cooking.
(I use to dream about eating her food – no kidding.)
Not that I wasn’t get enough to eat – actually I was gaining weight at an alarming pace, a very common side effect for freshly emigrated people to USA :)
But there was more to her food than calories.
So finally when she came over I could once again enjoy that wonderful food.
Eating – I have to add – in other parts of the world, it is not just a “fueling up” thing.
Eating has a social function. It is a family ritual, a way to communion with friends and forge relationships.
Food is not only fuel for the body it is also fuel for the soul.
So I used to invite friends over for lunch or dinner.
And on one occasion I invited my friend Beth over for lunch.
Of course she was very impressed with the cooking and asked me to ask my mother if she could give her the soup recipe.
I have to mention – my mother did not speak a word of English.
Of course she would, she told me.
“There is nothing special to it. You boil a chicken with the carrots, potatoes and onions…” my mother started to say.
“How many carrots?” asked Beth
“Depends how big is the chicken” my mother replied
“How big should be the chicken?” Beth asked
“Depends how many people you want to feed” came the answer.
So we continued this conversation for a while with the mom and Beth getting more and more frustrated.
You see: Beth wanted to make soup according to a recipe while mom thought that you have to make your recipe according to the soup.
In other words a real cook changes the recipe according to the way the soup tastes.
He or she will add more of this or less of that in order to get the best result – and for that there is no recipe :)
Why am I telling you this story?
I was doing some research for writing a post on “success” and I realize that a recipe for success - like a soup recipe - doesn’t really teach you how be successful.
Successful people do not follow a recipe for success they write the recipe for success.
Do you see what I mean?