I felt the need to write this page as I look at other food blogs and online recipes and see that I’m doing it wrong. Apparently, I’m supposed to be telling you exactly how much of each item to use, what temperature to cook at and how long it will take to do it. See, I learned to cook without ever really reading any recipes. I learned techniques, I learned components for dishes and I learned how to combine flavors. What I never learned, was that cooking was an exact science.
I have a feeling I get a lot fewer people trying my recipes because of the fact that they don’t follow an easy to use formula. I kind of ramble on and talk about how I make the food, and give some pointers, but their not the sort of “recipes” you print out and follow step one to step whatever without ever having to think for yourself.
I’ve said this before, but to me, recipes are for bakers. Baking is a fundamentally different sort of cooking where the amount of salt and baking soda will determine whether bread rises or falls. In most savory cooking however, you often have a lot of leeway and can only learn to really cook by learning the boundaries for yourself. If you only follow a recipe that calls for 1 teaspoon lemon juice, you’ll never learn to add and taste, and keep adding until the balance is just right. A lot of times, my recipes are intentionally vague, because the flavor and acidity of a lemon I buy, may not be the same as the one you buy halfway around the globe. A medium onion for me, may be a large onion for you and a Tbsp of my salt, may not be the same as a Tbsp of yours.
What I try to provide my readers is a way of thinking for themselves in the kitchen. You don’t have to follow every word of my “recipes”, just learn something from them. You may not like carrot-ginger soup, but you may think the garlicky cracked potatoes are awesome. Every component I use has an unlimited number of uses and combinations. Learning the principles of how to make one soup, can teach you to make a hundred different types.
The fact is, there is no such thing as the perfect dish or recipe. I know people who have shelves of cookbooks, but are so restricted by them that they never really learn to cook. So I encourage you to try something new and taste everything. Good food doesn’t have to be fancy or expensive and doesn’t require complicated equipment or techniques. Learn some basics and grow from there. The important thing is to keep on cooking, tasting and making mistakes; it’s the only way you’ll ever really learn.