I'll skip straight to the punch line: There is no single 'right way' for most things in life. I'm sure there are exceptions in fields like medicine or Japanese tea ceremony, but in the kitchen it's all about adapting to circumstances. Time, freshness, purpose, strength and ability, equipment, skill level have a big influence on technique and method.
One of the joys of cooking is that it is indeed a dance with the present moment, a constant two-step (or waltz maybe?) to adapt to what is happening right now. Cut it thinner this time, a little more lemon juice, walnuts instead of almonds, lower the heat, raise the heat, cha-cha-cha!
Today is the last day of February which is Home Hacks month in The Kitchn. We've been flooding our pages with great tutorials on how to carve a chicken, poach an egg, mince garlic, cook bacon. But for me the most interesting learning has been in the comments section where our readers share their personal experiences, debate proper methods, offer suggestions for substitutions and alternatives. It's this sharing of our (sometimes) differing ideas and experiences that make The Kitchn a rich, relevant resource for home cooks.
So who has the best idea, the perfect technique, the final definitive Right Way? Well, no one, actually. It's both the blessing and the curse of the world wide web that we can drop into any discussion and throw in our two-cents. Taking the narrow path of I'm right and your wrong only leads to suffering It is quite possible to honor your own method, tradition, or opinion while saving room for a host of others. It's a big world and there is really, truly room for everything.
For the most part, my experience has been that The Kitchn's readers are an enormously well-informed and polite bunch. I've learned quite a bit from reading your comments, not only about food and cooking but also about writing, expression and taking risks. So deep bows of appreciation for your participation in this amazing collective cookbook!
Now, get into that kitchen and start dancing!
(Images: Dana Velden)