Your Inner Zen Chef Isn't Afraid of Failure

You can't improve as a cook (or anything) without making a lot of horrible food (or whatever) first.

Ruth Reichl: Cooking is a big part of what makes us human. And it is our natural activity. Anybody who’s ever spent much time with a kid knows that all kids love to cook. When you’re cooking at six, seven, eight, everybody thinks it’s adorable and they tell you, no matter how horrible it is, they tell you how great it is. And so it doesn’t occur to you that you could make a mistake and you eventually, you repeat it because everybody’s like, "Isn’t that great?" And you become a good cook through cooking. And you can’t expect too much of yourself the first few times. We in the media — and I take a certain amount of responsibility for this — have frightened people away from cooking. So the first thing I would say is don’t think you have to make perfect meals. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes. We do so much result-oriented cooking where, you know, we’re so concerned about what we’re going to end up with that we don’t pay attention to the journey. And cooking is an adventure and, you know, if you make a mistake with something that you cook, it’s a meal, you know. There’s another one a few hours later. I mean big deal. Find someone you trust, say, you know, whose recipes do you trust? And make a simple recipe and just find out what a pleasure it is to give that to someone that you care about and watch their eyes light up and their pleasure in something that you’ve cooked for them. It becomes kind of a drug. I mean once you feed people wonderful food and they like it, you want to do it again and again and again.

Cooking is a big part of what makes us human, says legendary food writer Ruth Reichl, author of My Kitchen Year: 136 Recipes That Saved My Life. And just as we err in all other facets of life, to make mistakes while learning to cook is only natural. In fact, it's through these small bits of failure that we improve in our abilities and heighten our passion for food.

The world and workforce need wisdom. Why don’t universities teach it?

Universities claim to prepare students for the world. How many actually do it?

Photo: Take A Pix Media / Getty Images
Sponsored by Charles Koch Foundation
  • Many university mission statements do not live up to their promise, writes Ben Nelson, founder of Minerva, a university designed to develop intellect over content memorization.
  • The core competencies that students need for success—critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and cross-cultural understanding, for example—should be intentionally taught, not left to chance.
  • These competencies can be summed up with one word: wisdom. True wisdom is the ability to apply one's knowledge appropriately when faced with novel situations.
Keep reading Show less

From zero to hero in 18 years: How SpaceX became a nation-state

SpaceX's momentous Crew Dragon launch is a sign of things to come for the space industry, and humanity's future.

Photo:Joe Raedle/Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • SpaceX was founded in 2002 and was an industry joke for many years. Eighteen years later, it is the first private company to launch astronauts to the International Space Station.
  • Today, SpaceX's Crew Dragon launched NASA astronauts Bob Behnken and Doug Hurley to the ISS. The journey will take about 19 hours.
  • Dylan Taylor, chairman and CEO of Voyager Space Holdings, looks at SpaceX's journey from startup to a commercial space company with the operating power of a nation-state.
Keep reading Show less

Six-month-olds recognize (and like) when they’re being imitated

A new study may help us better understand how children build social cognition through caregiver interaction.

Personal Growth
  • Scientists speculate imitation helps develop social cognition in babies.
  • A new study out of Lund University shows that six-month-olds look and smile more at imitating adults.
  • Researchers hope the data will spur future studies to discover what role caregiver imitation plays in social cognition development.
  • Keep reading Show less

    What the world will look like in the year 250,002,018

    This is what the world will look like, 250 million years from now

    On Pangaea Proxima, Lagos will be north of New York, and Cape Town close to Mexico City
    Surprising Science

    To us humans, the shape and location of oceans and continents seems fixed. But that's only because our lives are so short.

    Keep reading Show less

    New study connects cardiovascular exercise with improved memory

    Researchers at UT Southwestern noted a 47 percent increase in blood flow to regions associated with memory.

    Photo: Johannes Eisele/AFP via Getty Images
    Surprising Science
    • Researchers at UT Southwestern observed a stark improvement in memory after cardiovascular exercise.
    • The year-long study included 30 seniors who all had some form of memory impairment.
    • The group of seniors that only stretched for a year did not fair as well in memory tests.
    Keep reading Show less