Even on Letterman’s show, after dealing with a malfunctioning stovetop, Child creatively turned her failed attempts at making a hamburger into a beef tartare using a blowtorch. On her television special, Child spoke about Americans’ fear of failure, and encouraged home cooks who might be hesitant about certain dishes because of certain ingredients like syrup or caramel to welcome feelings of impending disaster. “If you have a fear of failure, you will never learn how to cook,” she explained. “Cooking, well, it’s a lot of things, it’s one failure after another, and that’s how you finally learn.”
Child wasn’t afraid to show this meticulous approach, casually saying, “Oh, well, that didn’t go well,” when he struggled to precisely stir ingredients or make a mess in the kitchen. Even on TV, Child continued to cook as he looked for ways to correct course and prepare a meal that could be served and eaten with confidence, setting a useful example for the rest of us trying to put a decent dinner on the table.