Theoretical vs Reality Cooking

Let’s be honest. Some food ideas sound amazing in theory but just aren’t the greatest in practice. This is similar but not quite the same as my pancake failure. In that case, I was following a recipe created by someone else and not me throwing things together (for a recap, see Buying vs. Making Your Own). This weekend, I tried making something that I had never made and haven’t taste any comparable for about 2 and a half years. Yeah, I was fairly ambitious. I tried making lentils with chorizo which is a dish from Spain (possibly Mexico as well). For those who come from cultures with this dish, everyone and their mother has their own version of it. It should not have been terribly difficult to make this, even if I have never cooked with chorizo or made lentils. I think you can see where this is going.

I decided that I was going to create lentil soup (yes even in summer). This soup was going to include chorizo, onion, garlic, and more. Now I ended up using Mexican chorizo and not Spanish because the Mexican chorizo was what I found first at my grocery store. I had half of a red onion left that I wanted to use. Somehow a lentil soup with a whole 10oz stick of chorizo, half of a red onion, two big cloves of garlic, two chicken bouillon cubes (and the needed water for dissolving), rosemary sprigs, and a bay leaf turned into a food that I couldn’t even finish a bowl of. Nothing about those ingredients would suggest that I would end up tossing the rest of what I created. Everything was cooked but I could not find myself to continue eating. Now I probably could have cooked the lentils a little bit longer but they were getting unevenly cooked (some were soft and others were slightly crunchy). I cannot figure out where I went wrong with the flavors. I can only propose that I just absolutely failed at the actual cooking process. This was a food concept that sounded pretty good in theory but turned awful. Again I was possibly overambitious with attempting both flavors and cooking techniques (cooking lentils) that I have never tried in my life.

Now I should pause for a second and address the fact that I tossed out edible food. I really hate throwing away food. In college, I have made food that I did not enjoy but ate anyway. I have made heinous dishes that I am sure Gordon Ramsay would have yelled at me for. However, I decided that I really didn’t know how to salvage what I created and it is much harder for me to tolerate eating heinous food day after day. In college, I could take a break from my heinous creations by grabbing something at the cafeteria. That convenience is not nearly as accessible now nor do I like spending that kind of money on convenience foods. At this point in my life my food is planned so that it covers most of the meals for the week. I try to eat the same couple of meals for as long as I can. I will say though that the onion and garlic needed to be used one way or another and I still have a half of a bag of lentils left to try again. I am really only out the cost of or have wasted (depending on how you look at it) the chorizo. Again I am not super familiar with the favors of chorizo and it may have never been in the lentil stew/soup I had in Spain. Huh…well I tried to recreate my Spanish food experience and failed.

Long story short, plans for foods may sound awesome in theory and seem fool proof but end up being absolute failures in reality. Like I said in regards to my pancake failure, I am open to trying again with supervision. In this case, I would also be open to just some plain input as to why it might have failed. I think I put too much garlic in or overcooked it and the chorizo. I can only speculate. Have you ever tried making a dish that you thought would turn out well but didn’t? Did you use a recipe or throw stuff together like my lentil soup attempt? Do you have an idea as to why this turned out poorly? Please answer below with your comments and thanks for reading.

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