Burned Food: A Story of Building Confidence

by Frank

burned food

Don't let the outfit fool you. He is burning our food. Photo by Paolo Camera

Let’s just say that cooking has not always been my thing. I burned food. I used to be the guy at the butt of all of the cooking jokes. You know the ones right?

It takes you an hour to make minute rice.
You are the best thing to happen to my waistline because when you cook I lose my appetite.
Your family says their prayers after they eat.
You can’t boil hot water.
Where there’s smoke, he’s cooking.
The best thing you can make for dinner is reservations.

I deserved it. I ruined a lot of meals. When we invited people over they wanted to know if I would be near the kitchen before they would accept. I overcooked noodles for spaghetti and made hamburgers that had the same texture of the charcoal I cooked them over. If cooking was a gift, I made the naughty listed and missed out on presents that year.


After one brutal batch of chili, that was so disgusting I wouldn’t force a dog to eat it, I decided to invest some time in learning how to cook.

I began watching the food network. It just made me hungry. I visited cooking websites but was frustrated by their lack of pictures and got bored. I borrowed a cook book from the library but didn’t have any of the ingredients to make what they were suggesting.

Frustrated, I did something that most would think is common sense. I started to read and follow the directions that most foods provide on the package. Who knew that instructions would be so useful? lol!

I never would have improved my cooking skills if I didn’t take the time to want to get better. Now as much as I w0uld like to say from that point on everything went perfect that would be so far from the truth. Just like learning anything it took a lot of practice.


First I undercooked the baked chicken. Then I burned the chicken. Finally, after three attempts, it was edible but I forgot to season it appropriately. Once I made it through those culinary experiences  I can now bake chicken with the best of them. My trial and error helped me start building confidence.

After I mastered chicken I was on to my next dish, spaghetti. I followed the directions on the noodles and got them just right. Then I browned the meat and added the sauce. I took the meat and sauce blend and added it to the noodles and was shocked by how watery everything came out. Oops, I forgot to drain the noodles. Spaghetti only took two tries to get it right. A bowl of watery spaghetti soup helped me start building confidence. 🙂 I know not to do that ever again.

I could go on and tell you about my experience of trying to make hash browns but that one is just too embarrassing. Let’s just say that I had mashed potatoes with my eggs and toast one morning. What did I learn form all this? I’m glad you involuntarily asked.


When it comes to building confidence there is a formula or better yet a recipe that one should follow. As much as I would have liked to start off preparing gourmet meals at home, it didn’t work that way. I had to eat garbage before I got a chance to taste something edible (that’s a stretch). Building confidence in life is just like cooking. You have to take the time to learn the craft before you become successful at it.


Take Initiative: If there is something in your life that is holding you back don’t just complain about it. Take the initiative to challenge whatever it is head on. I know I can’t cook. For that reason, I learned to buy pre-cooked meals. 🙂 Alright, I learned how to cook.

Display Patience: Cooking up the meal of your life will not happen over night. You are going to have some burned food before you get it right. Don’t let that discourage you from trying. The more time you are willing to invest in perfecting your craft the greater your opportunity for success.

Organization: One of the worst things you can do when trying to build confidence is to not have a plan. You need to organize your actions to make sure that you are progressing. What good is burning a chicken if you are only going to do the exact same thing on your second attempt? Keep track of your shortcomings and your successes.

Perseverance: Don’t you ever give up. I don’t care what obstacles stand in your way as you go forth to start building confidence in any area in your life. If it was important enough for you to start, it is just as important that you finish.