I have two modes of cooking. Sometimes I like finding complicated recipes and following them to a T. I enjoy preparing the mis en place and re-reading the recipe a million times until I almost have it memorized. I love when it turns out perfectly and looks exactly like the picture in the recipe.

And then there are the other times when I am hungry and want to make something on the fly. As satisfying as my anal-recipe-following may be, there is a different and perhaps deeper satisfaction in throwing together a bunch of random things. I don’t measure anything, I don’t go shopping for ingredients. I just root around my refrigerator and pantry and eyeball all the measurements. Completing a complicated recipe only means that you can follow directions. Eyeballing things somehow makes me feel like a capable human being.

Which is why today I saw half a carton of heavy whipping cream in my refrigerator and decided that I absolutely had to make some creamy balsamic sauce and pasta. So I chopped up some garlic, threw it in a pan with olive oil, and added the cream, balsamic vinegar, half a cube of beef Knor, parsley, and salt. I have no idea how much of anything I tossed in there, but it tasted delicious. Which is one of the reasons I love cooking so much. In cooking, as in life, there aren’t always instructions or plans. Sometimes you’re just hungry and need to put together whatever you can find in your kitchen. It won’t always turn out well, but that’s part of the adventure. And it makes your successes taste that much more delicious.