Most people who cook (or basket weave, or skydive, or what have you…) have at least one or two recipes that they consider “good”. They’ve mastered making a good spaghetti sauce, or a pie recipe, or egg salad – whatever. Something that they are known for making or at least that they and their friends/families really like. That’s as it should be. You do something long enough, you ought to do at least part of it pretty well.
So what happens when you reach “good”? Does that recipe stand still and never get changed? Do you never look for a better pie crust or tomato soup recipe or glazed ham when you find something you really like? For example, I found an interesting recipe in Cook’s Country magazine for the best roast turkey. Now I’m not famous for my turkey but the good cooks in my family have made turkey the same way for awhile and it works really well. Knowing that Thanksgiving isn’t filled with angst of “will it be dry”, I still decided to try the turkey recipe – partly out of curiosity (just how would salt pork figure into the equation) and partly to see if there is something better than really good.
The turkey was good – exceptionally moist and really easy (no basting at all). Was it better than the older version? No, not better, but equally good. Can two turkeys both be really good but different? Yeah. Will I make it for Thanksgiving? Yes, I think so.
I guess the moral of this story is that even when you have reached good – in whatever you do, it is still worthwhile to see how far you can stretch that label. Maybe the end result will be equally good, just easier or quicker; maybe it will be worse and you will reaffirm your old methods; or maybe it will be good – but in a different way – and there is nothing wrong with having more than one way to skin a cat…er…make that pluck a turkey.