For many aspiring cooks, Alex Guarnaschelli has offered much sage advice on basic cooking techniques, building flavors and exploring new recipes. While her many appearances on Food Network shows like Supermarket Stakeout, Chopped and even Iron Chef have captivated food lovers, she has a way of explaining food and cooking that make sense to any cooking level. Like a particular analogy that she made to a classic toy.
Recently, I spoke to Alex Guarnaschelli as part of her partnership with ZENB Pasta. While many people are starting to discover the brand’s yellow pea pasta, the recipes that she created for the brand have people excited to get cooking.
While some of the root vegetables that she used might not be the trendy or flashy vegetables that fill that Instagram accounts, the simple ingredients showcase that great food doesn’t need to be showy. In some ways, simple cooking techniques can improve anyone’s home cooking.
How does Alex Guarnaschelli compare cooking to this classic toy?
During our conversation, Guarnaschelli made a very simple cooking analogy. She compared cooking to playing with Legos. Yes, that classic block toy can serve as a simple reminder about building flavor.
For example, she mentioned that a dish is similar to building a Legos creation. From that base, the structure rises, brick upon brick. Cooking is similar to that Legos concept. Any great dish builds flavor upon flavor.
Many home cooks can appreciate that visual and concept. As Guarnaschelli explained, pasta can be that base ingredient (like the flat, Legos square). As ingredient, upon ingredient is added, the dish is built into a complete item.
Granted, all the pieces have to fit together in some ways. There cannot be a round piece where a square piece goes. The same can be said for cooking. A salty component cannot work in a spot that needs something sweet.
The next that a home cook is trying to create a new recipe or is reworking a favorite dish, consider Alex Guarnaschelli’s Legos analogy. Legos could be the secret to being a better cook.
What cooking techniques or food hacks have made you a better cook?