We have all had bad food. Sometimes we paid for it. Other times, it manifested itself in the home. For example, I certainly did not create a quality product one Thanksgiving when I tried to make mashed potatoes in the slow cooker. I took a risk that year and it did not pay off. Plenty of recipes (i.e., work instructions) are available for making mashed potatoes in a slow cooker. I could try again using different work instructions or analyze why the Thanksgiving recipe was not successful the first time. Alternatively (and my ultimate decision), I could go back to the previous method which worked every time; however, it didn’t offer me the extra space on the stove-top that the slow cooker did.
From failure to success, let’s discuss an example of quality in cooking. Where does quality begin in cooking? The best ingredients? Personally, I do not think so. Most of us cannot afford the best “quality” ingredients each and every day, but we want our food to be of good quality every day. And even if one could always afford the best ingredients, most folks have a dirty little secret food they like. What’s yours? A hotdog? Possibly macaroni and cheese from a box?
I am a perfectionist in the kitchen and also a risk taker. However, I also feel very strongly against food waste so try to keep my waste to a minimum. The specifications that I work toward are perhaps different than in a robot factory or for a Michelin-starred chef. However, what we do have in common are processes, budgets, procurement, preparing and processing the raw materials, assembling the meal and the reward of happiness while feeding people good quality food.
Let’s start with the beginning of the process. Is it when my spouse asks “What’s for dinner”? What are we going to eat tonight? Let’s be simple and choose Spaghetti Bolognese. This is a process I know well and I don’t need written instructions. Recently, when my daughter asked for the recipe, I typed it up and sent it to her. She needs written instructions. We can easily make a SIPOC chart for making Spaghetti Bolognese. As the chart suggests, my family are huge stakeholders in dinner every night!