Cody's Food Bit for Feb. 23, 2011
I recommend using the highest quality ingredients that you can afford. It's extremely difficult to make poor quality ingredients taste good,. However, with some really great ingredients that complement each other, you can whip up a Top Chef-worthy dish at home.
This theory applies to high-dollar items such as steak and seafood, but also should be followed down to the type of salt and pepper used in food preparation. Salt is directly proportionate to compliments. In other words, If you use too much salt, or not enough salt, you aren't going to get any compliments.
I almost always use kosher salt in my cooking. You can see and feel the large crystals of kosher salt in your hand, which makes it less likely that you will over-salt. As for pepper, I prefer to grind whole black peppercorns in a pepper grinder rather than rely on a pre-ground pepper shaker. While the pre-ground stuff will provide heat and a sharp bite, freshly ground pepper enhances ability to taste food, stimulating salivary glands so flavors can be experienced more fully.
But this effect only comes from freshly ground pepper. Replacing your pepper shaker with a good pepper mill is one of the simplest ways to enhance your cooking.
Additionally, I find fresh ground black pepper to be a great flavor buddy with fresh garlic.
Food for Thought
When you have what you want (inner peace), you are less distracted by your wants, needs, desires and concerns. It's thus easier to concentrate, focus, achieve your goals, and give back to others.