I burnt our dinner last night.
I was experimenting with cooking a mixture of lentils, pre-roasted vegetables, Indian spices and tinned tomatoes in the pressure cooker. I was expecting it to come out like a dal-y soup. However I left it to cook for too long, didn't add enough liquid and burnt not only the dinner, but also the pan.
People seem to assume when you can cook that nothing goes wrong, but I stuff up in the kitchen all the time. If I'm tired, feeling lazy or over-confident, not paying attention, or trying out something new, it's not uncommon for dinner to go awry.
However, I've learnt not to get cranky about this. Firstly, most of the time dinner can be saved. Last night, despite the bottom of the pan being thoroughly burnt, we still ate the meal. It tasted a bit smoky and carbon-y, but I hate wasting food and it was perfectly good enough for dinner.
Most importantly however, I remind myself that cooking is a accomplishment you acquire through practice. There's a limit to what you can learn from cookery books, Youtube or TV chefs. At some point, to get better at cooking, you have to actually cook and develop your skills through experience.
So, while dinner was not as good as it could have been, I had three lessons to reflect on while I scrubbed out the pan: not to cook lentils for so long, to add more liquid next time and, when you detect a burning aroma, don't think, that smell couldn't possibly be coming from my pressure cooker, it must be next door's cooking.
Three good lessons to learn.