Chef’s choice

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I’ve spoken often about my love for both woodworking and cooking – it’s no joke when I refer to the kitchen as “my other workshop.”

I first blogged about it here nearly 11 years ago, and my feelings haven’t changed: There’s a tremendous amount of crossover between the two pursuits, from the tools, to the process to the final satisfaction of a job well done. Not only do I still spend just as much time in both workshops, but my philosophy to design and creation in both places has remained steady over the years. Namely, I still treat dinner recipes and project plans the same way: a source of ideas only.

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Since writing that old blog more than a decade ago, Sally and I have become good friends with a professional chef and we frequently dine at each other’s homes. I hosted dinner last week, for which I made one of our favorite go-to casual dinners, Mexican stuffed shells. He loved the meal, said so again after eating the leftovers I sent him home with, and asked for the recipe.

I dug it out and emailed him a copy, but also included a lengthy description of just how little of the recipe I’d actually followed and all the changes I’d made. I explained to him that, as with woodworking project plans, I’d used that recipe as a suggestion only.

To that, he responded, “Honestly, I usually look at a recipe, skim through it and then make my own spin. Unless it is a baking item, which is all about science, I’m good with giving it a go on my own.”

And that’s exactly how I’ve felt all these years. If I didn’t know better, I’d swear that I might have a little bit of chef in me. Or, maybe he has a little bit of woodworker in him.

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