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It can pay to follow a recipe.
I'm more of an instinctive chef—just like nature hates a vacuum, I hate measuring cups. But sometimes you have to follow the rules, or you'll end up with a fallen soufflé.

You get out what you put in.
Quality ingredients like fresh vegetables, healthy meats, and fragrant spices make anything taste good. Similarly, when I brought an open mind to my sit-down with President George W. Bush after Hurricane Katrina, I found myself working closely with his administration to help rebuild my hometown. Talk about an odd couple....

When things get too hot, step away from the stove.
I used to say whatever I was thinking. But words can't be taken back—so now when I feel myself about to snap, I exit the situation. If there happens to be a glass of wine nearby, even better.

Sometimes you just need a little sugar.
A touch of sweetness can make all the difference in a balsamic vinaigrette—or when you're trying to charm a dour TSA rep out of groping your underwire.

More Advice from Donna Brazile

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