There’s a perfectionism that’s counterproductive. Dialed in to details that don’t ultimately matter, this is a form of waste, and can lead to endless delays and failure. It may be a form of hiding or procrastination.

Yet, the difference between average and great is attention to the details that really matter. And being patient enough to work through the appropriate learning curves in order to achieve mastery.

Knowing the difference is hard–and I think may require a teacher–someone who can help you identify when your perfectionism is undermining your work, and spur you on when you’re tempted to cut the wrong corners.

One of the main reasons that pseudo-French cooking…falls far below good French cooking is just this matter of elimination of steps, combination of processes, or skimping on ingredients–and time. “Too much trouble,” “Too expensive,” or “Who will know the difference” are death knells for good food.

Pay close attention to what you are doing while you work, for precision in small details can make the difference between passable cooking and fine food.

A pot saver is a self-hampering cook. Use all the pans, bowls and equipment you need, but soak them in water as soon as you are through with them. Clean up after yourself frequently to avoid confusion. Train yourself to use your hands and fingers; they are wonderful instruments. Train yourself also to handle hot foods; this will save time. Keep your knives sharp.

Above all, have a good time.

Julia Child, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, xxvi.
Julia Child in 1978 By Lynn Gilbert