Yes, you read that right. I write a food blog and I hate recipes. I’m also a seamstress and I hate sewing patterns. I generally hate following a set way of doing anything. I like to float through life. But I also like order. I am an oxymoron– I have accepted that I am strange.
Usually I can get away with this laid back way of living, but sometimes it poses a problem, like when I’m trying to share a recipe. It’s hard to say, “Well, you put in some of this, and then add some of that, and if you like this, you could dump in some of it too.” Who could follow that? Yet it’s the way I cook!
Don’t get me wrong, I do use recipes. But I use them as a suggestion rather than a rule. Measuring cups? Who needs them? Now, it probably helps that I have a good spacial sense and a photographic memory. And no, that doesn’t mean that I remember EVERY detail– it means I remember in pictures. In this case, I can remember what a cup of flour looked like when I dumped it in a bowl, and I’m pretty good at recreating that amount of flour without measuring it. I cook a lot of foods where the exact amount of ingredients used won’t make or break the recipe. It will change the flavour a little, but will come out roughly the same.
I also expect my food to turn out a little different each time. A great example of this is my spaghetti sauce. I have a few ingredients that go in every time, and the spices are roughly the same, but I like to add lots of vegetables, and I don’t always have the same ones in my fridge. Here’s where that fly by the seat of my pants way of living comes in. I grocery shop based on what looks good and what’s cheap, not off of a menu. A lot of food gets wasted this way, and I hate that. My Thrifty Thursday bulk cooking is my attempt to “fix” this.
Is it working? Well, I decided what I was making today while I was at the store yesterday. I did pretty good and got most of the ingredients I needed, but I forgot the zucchini and mushrooms for the spaghetti sauce. Instead of running back out to the store, I just worked with what I had. I pulled a bag of grated zucchini meant for muffins out of my freezer and added chopped spinach. I had to do without the mushrooms. Is the sauce the way I usually make it? Nope, but I suspect it will be just as good (we’ll eat that meal later this week).
See, most of the time I get away with bluffing my way through cooking. But then sometimes I mess up.
What is this? Well, I guess it’s a cookie. A banana chocolate chip cookie. I knew it would have a bit of a strange texture because of all the mashed banana. It’s good though.
But how about this? It’s a chocolate chip banana loaf.
But wait a second– they are made of the exact same batter (well, I added a little baking soda and baking powder to the loaf because I had forgotten to put it in initially.)
So, it’s a cookie or a loaf. Both taste good.
How about these? Clearly they are blueberry banana muffins. Good ones too. I’ll make them again.
But wait, there’s the problem again. I have no idea how to do this again. I threw ingredients into the mixer for both of these without really paying attention. This usually works out okay. Sometimes the results are a little disappointing, but what comes out of the oven is almost always edible. It’s times like today, when the finished product tastes GREAT that I get frustrated. Will I ever be able to duplicate this? That photographic memory is handy, and I could probably remember what I did with about 70% accuracy. And my future attempts might be even better. Still, I need to keep better track of what I’m doing.
So how is it that I can share recipes on the blog? Well, I have to make everything as I write down the recipe. And I have to pay careful attention to what I’m doing. Sometimes the recipe isn’t right the way I measure it out. That happened with my chicken pot pie today. It was too dry– I didn’t use enough broth. It’s an easy fix, but I will still have to make it again before I post the recipe, just to be sure I got it right.
So yes, I hate recipes, but for you, I will write them down and follow them. At least once 😉