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You Have to Wok Before You Can Run: A Lesson In Kitchen Humility

Posted Jan 10 2011 10:19pm


This evening, after a long Monday of work, I headed straight to the grocery store. This is a big accomplishment because most Monday nights all I want to do is head home and relax.

Luckily this grocery cart had space for my heavy bag AND groceries! IMG_0810

Within 30 minutes, I had all the ingredients for a delicious, healthy dinner sitting on my kitchen counter.

IMG_0811 I still had plenty of time, an hour, to cook dinner before Bo walked through the door around 8pm! I was so excited to surprise my husband with one of his favorite meals, hibachi style chicken and vegetables.

Before leaving work, I found this healthy recipe on the Weight Watchers website.  As soon as I walked home, I organized all my ingredients, ensuring I had everything I needed.

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First up on this evening’s to do list, was lots of practice in the art of chopping!

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After chopping, squeezing, and organizing all my ingredients I lined them up since the recipe said it was a “quick-fire” recipe and required lots of fast movements.

For the next 25 minutes, I carefully followed the recipe’s instructions to the tee.

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This should have been a delicious meal, reminiscent of our favorite Savannah Japanese restaurant, Hirano’s .

Instead, I ate these leftovers for dinner.


Unfortunately, my Japanese attempt was horrible. The chicken was overcooked while the beautifully sliced vegetables were too crisp. The vinegar didn’t evaporate as it should have so the flavor tasted more of vinegar than soy sauce. Bo attributed some of the recipe failure to my new to me kitchen tool, the wok. Tonight was the first time I’ve used our wok and I didn’t realize that “pile high” doesn’t work well in a wok. Unfortunately, I overfilled it which caused the uneven cooking and lack of carmelization.

At first, I started crying. I felt defeated.

But, after a quick phone call with my mom and dad, I realized that this was actually a great learning opportunity. I enjoyed an hour chopping practice, relaxed in the kitchen, and learned something at the end of it. I also found a great Japanese Hibachi Chicken recipe to try again soon!

Have you ever learned a hard lesson in the kitchen? How do you handle kitchen failure?

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