1. Don’t fret about it.
My very first attempts to cook were beyond pathetic. My mussaka attempt turned into plain mashed potatoes with ground beef on the side. I even managed to screw up sarmi (grape leaves stuffed with ground meat and spices), which is one of the easiest recipes in Bulgarian cookbooks. Seeing me utterly discouraged as I measured maya and flour for a pitka (homemade bread), mom thought it was time to step in. “Don’t fret about it,” she said, taking away my measuring cup and dumping flour from the bag into my mixing bowl. “The best recipes are those made nonchalantly, with passion rather than a measuring cup.”