Burn your recipes!” If youve been following me for any amount of time now, youve heard me utter that statement time and time again. Its not that Im entirely against using recipes for home cooking, its more because I see cooking meals as a personal art form or your kitchen culinary expression.
In fact, home cooking recipes are especially useful if youre looking for new ideas and flavor combinations. Recipes are useful for cooking meals if you want to try to duplicate something exactly.
Here are some of the things that recipes will tell you:
The ingredients to use
The correct weights and measures for the ingredients
The temperatures and degrees to use
How much time you should cook
What steps to take and when
But, you cant expect recipes to tell you everything that you need to know to make the meal come to life. I like to make analogies between cooking and music. Lets take sheet music for example. There are things that sheet music doesnt tell the piano player. There are variations in tone, pace, and interpretation. The musician has to bring the music to life through his or her own interpretation of the music that they are reading.
Here are some of the things that recipes dont tell you:
Variations in ingredients/substitutions
Variations in measurements/ mistakes in measuring
Variations in oven temps/stove temps
Variations in time
Why you are taking the steps you are taking
There are very few celebrity chefs that I enjoy. An exception is Alton Brown. I enjoy Alton Browns show because he also explains why hes taking the steps hes taking as well as how different ingredients, temperatures, etc. affect the food that you cook. One day when I was watching Alton, he was cooking a popover recipe that looked great. As I was watching, I thought that the amount of salt he used would make it too salty for me. But, when I tried to make the recipe, I used his exact measurements because, well, hes Alton Brown. Turns out the popovers were WAY too salty!
Next time, Ill take out some of my own recipe books I use for inspiration and point out some of the ways that I know the recipe book is broken. My goal is to help you to increase your kitchen culinary skills by using your home cooking recipes to cook meals that you can be proud of again and again.