Last night I made tofu Banh Mi for supper. Well, more accurately, I made something that kind of looked like Banh Mi from about 20 feet away. By way of background, Banh Mi is a Vietnamese sandwich with of one or more meats, accompanying vegetables like fresh cucumber slices, cilantro and pickled carrots and white radishes in shredded form, and spicy condiments. Mine was seasoned fried tofu topped with carrot ribbons, sweet onion, and thinly sliced cucumber sautéed with garlic and red pepper flakes-and a healthy shot of Siracha. I got the idea for this meal from a cookbook, but I used the recipe as more of a guideline than as a set process.
That’s kind of how I handle a lot of things. Someone comes up with a strictly regimented process and promotes it as “the” way to do something. Then I come along and trouble-maker that I am, I take a look at the process and go my own way. I tend to look at the end I wish to achieve, and work the path backwards from it to where I presently am and hit pause. Once I see how I can get the result I want, I hit play and away I go. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Even if I mess up along the way, I can take a detour if necessary. And I try to learn from my mistakes.