To make Albondigas Soup, you start with all of your ingredients around you on the counter. The beef, the rice, the sliced and diced vegetables and of course, your herbs and other condiments. (I like to add some diced red chillies) I was squeamish when my mother stood there mixing the minced beef, rice and eggs in a bowl, but I admired the way she was able to create perfect little meatballs by rolling the mixture in her palms. She chatted away as she worked and I listened and watched her hands.
Today, I cleaned the kitchen and set to work to create the perfect surroundings. First, I placed two vases of cut flowers on the table. One was a dozen roses of yellow tipped with bronze red. The other was a huge bundle of yellow chrysanthemums. Next, I cleared the window sill and there, I placed my new herb plants in a neat row. Parsley, coriander, basil and mint filled the kitchen with a mixture of sweet aromas from the garden. Finally, I cleared the counter and began my work.
Once the carrots, onions, courgettes, potatoes and garlic were sliced, I set to work on the meatballs. When everything was ready, I poured everything into the boiling stock and with a pinch of salt and a handful of mint from the window garden, I placed the lid on the soup and let it to simmer.
When my mother taught me to cook, it was by trial and observation. We never wrote anything down, but relied on our sense of taste and instincts to get it right. It’s the only way I know how to cook today. I think the secret to so many things is trial and error. There is no perfect instruction manual or guide book to cooking. You can read a recipe and follow instructions, but it’s only by playing about with what’s in front of you and trying again when you screw it up that you can improve on it. The same could be said about writing (and life).
Write about trial and error, whether it’s cooking, writing, riding a bike or anything else you’ve experienced.