Cook-Up Rice (Photo by Cynthia Nelson)

The voice in my head pleaded: Stop stirring de pot! You’re making Cook-up not Risotto!

I believe that cooking is a very personal thing. Some people may be more skilled than others. Whenever I get the opportunity (which is infrequently) I enjoy watching people cook — I’m talking here about real home cooks not television cooking. You learn so much about how they engage and communicate with and through their food. Part of it is that you get to “see” that “secret” ingredient, usually called love. Of course, you pick up tips and learn new and different ways to do things too. It might be the tiniest little thing. I remember watching one of my cousins dip a spoon into a bottle of instant coffee and then tap the handle of the spoon twice against the rim of the bottle to get the right amount of coffee for the cup she was about to make. As she moved from one cup to the other, her actions were different because she was making individual cups of coffee for different people and each took their coffee differently — by strength, quantity, and sweeteners like sugar and milk. There is no right or wrong. I say all of this as a preamble to make the point I want to today because I was asked a question: How come the Cook-up come out so soft and clammy together?….

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