We don't need no stinking recipes

It drives my wife insane. But I’m not real diligent about following recipes (let’s not even get into instruction manuals). It does have an upside. My wife gets to savor the smug satisfaction of asking, “you didn’t read the directions, did you?”

However, there is a growing movement that says we don’t need no stinking recipes. For them, it’s a matter of creativity, of harnessing the Fundamental Culinary Forces of the Universe. For me, it’s a matter of laziness, impatience and an urge for fun-with-spices.

Teach a man to fish and you won’t have to feed him. Teach a man to cook fish and you won’t need to give him recipes. There’s a lot to be said for learnng the fundamentals of cookery.  For understanding why food tastes the way it does, and how to manipulate those tastes.

Besides, it’s a pleasure when I cobble together a soup and my wife goes, “not bad.”

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2 Responses to We don't need no stinking recipes

  1. Michael Roston says:

    I read once about the debate in Italy between people who press olives to make oil the old way and the people who do it with pristine, sterile mechanical devices. The former argued that getting some dirt in the oil is what makes it good. I couldn’t agree more, and I think it really relates to this whole idea of cooking by the seat of your pants without instructions.

    On the other hand, there’s moments like Tuesday night when I was whipping up a pizza dough and hadn’t added enough oil to the mixture and realized that I had put the cap back on the olive oil can. Hands covered in gluey wanna-be dough, I managed to get more oil in the batch, but I’m still finding bits of leftover flour and water stickiness in my kitchen two days later.

  2. Susan Toepfer says:

    Isn’t the point to have a good meal? Who cares if the dish is original, or from a recipe, or a combo of both?

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