My cooking lesson at Gymboree

Why do the displays at Gymboree always look so ridiculously good? They make me want to buy everything in the store to recreate those looks for my kids. This week, I popped in to return something and found myself gazing longingly at yet another adorable ready made outfit hanging on the wall…and then it hit me!

The reason the Gymboree displays always look SO AMAZING is that they always add that one more element to the outfit that completes it! The extra button-down over the t-shirt and under the sweater. The scarf tied adorably around the sweater and under the corduroy blazer. The visible chunky belt over the long sweater over the patterned leggings.

It’s not complicated, really…but it takes a little extra effort to pull it off in your child’s everyday wardrobe.

Cooking is like that. Taking a moment to taste the dish you’re making and to add one more layer of flavor can elevate it from everyday to amazing. A sprinkle of fresh herbs. A swirl of butter into the sauce just before serving. A splash of vinegar. Minced shallots. A flurry of parmesan. These layers of flavor are what great cooks instinctively understand instinctively. Food prepared by a great cook has depth, and while you might not be able to name the extra ingredient, you will notice it because it’s what makes the dish feel finished.

Give it a whirl. Taste your dinner tonight before you serve it – ignore the fact that the recipe says you’re finished – and see if you can discern what extra element would make it amazing. You may surprise yourself and discover you’re already a great cook! You just needed the license to strut your stuff.

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