Does anyone else get an immense sense of satisfaction from a thoughtfully arranged mise en place? I get completely obsessed with making my ingredients look pretty before I dump them all into a pot of soup or roll them up in a salad roll. I think it’s like how I used to spend 4 hours making cover pages for reports in elementary school, the entire time spent shading and colouring with a pack of Laurentian pencil crayons and a pencil sharpener. Or the way I practiced my handwriting over and over again after school, I have entire workbooks left over with pages full of practice upper and lower case S’s and C’s and Z’s. I will say though, that if I feel confident bragging about anything it’s the fact that I have impeccable handwriting. I also used to draw square root symbols (√) and long division symbols with a ruler, even when I was just doing scrap paper math for a test. It’s always been about the small things and the supposedly hidden and unnoticeable things and that’s probably part of the reason I like cooking as well as writing; each step is its own little process and they all gradually build to form something large and obvious. I’ve also learned that I cook best when I’m not in a rush. I used to cook seeking an end result without taking very much time to hone the skills necessary to becoming a great home cook. The biggest skill of all, at least for me, was developing a better understanding of patience and how it applies in the kitchen. By slowing down and concentrating with an intentional mind I was able to actually get better at something I thought I was pretty good at, my knife skills improved and I had fewer accidents and mistakes. I don’t always have the luxury or even the desire to give myself this kind of time but when I do, and when I’m enthusiastic about the recipe, it really shows in my mood and my completed meal.