I have a confession to make. You know the cardinal rule that you never, EVER make a new recipe when you're have people over? Well, I break it. All the time. It usually comes about because I get this itch to try something new, either inspired by something I saw on Pinterest, in my latest issue of Bon Appétit or Everyday Food or a new cookbook (I have a cookbook problem). So I create a menu around the thing I want to make, but it's usually too much for my little family of 4 to eat, so I invite people over to share. I've been lucky so far, since I haven't had any major failures, not that I would serve anything that I thought was inedible. But I have served things that didn't turn out how I wanted them to. Fortunately, I have a circle of friends who are happy to share whatever comes out of my kitchen. They're adventurous like that, and I'm grateful that they're not too judgey.
But my point is this: be fearless when it comes to cooking. After all, it's just ingredients. If it doesn't work out the first time, try again. Or embrace the "failure" as something that didn't turn out exactly as you expected, but still tastes good. So what if it's not perfect? Maybe you'll discover a new technique, or flavor combination that's totally amazing. Or totally suck. But you'll never know unless you try. It's an old nugget but still holds true.
Letting go of the fear of failure is liberating...in any aspect of your life. But we're talking about cooking, here. Good cooks (and bakers, for that matter) are made, not born. I don't know anyone who's ever been 100% perfect in the kitchen. We've all had flops. Honest! Just ask my husband, who good-naturedly choked down some nearly inedible concoction I'd whipped up using kosher-for-Passover noodles that had turned into mush. And I've become really good at figuring out uses for failed hockey-puck biscuits (my biscuits still aren't perfect, but much more edible).
Is there some food or technique that you've been wanting to try, but just haven't, for whatever reason? What's holding you back?
Get into that kitchen! Break the rules! Take a risk! And be sure to share your results back here. :-)