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am i the only one who hates recipies?

I love cookbooks but too often recipies are followed verbatem. Food is personal. A list of recommended ingretients sure but table spoons, tea spoons, ounces...that noise is for pastry chefs. (sorry pastry chefs). Can we all cook with whatever is fresh and available. can we all stop measuring and cook from the heart. After all the chef who wrote the recipe didn't follow a recipe so why should we?

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  1. Well, usually I think of recipes as a general guideline. Yes, there's usually tablespoons, teaspoons, ounces, but then again, a lot of people that cook at home aren't necessarily knowledgeable to know the right proportions of ingredients. You can tweak recipes, certainly, even combine a few of them together (that's what my dad usually does when he "follows" a recipe, gets a few recipes, then uses them as a base), but you at least need some sort of starting point. I watch those commercials for Food Network where they just say the ingredients, but no measurements whatsoever, and I have no idea how much I would use, and I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one out there with that little problem.

    So in short, I agree, boo to following recipes verbatim, but yay for them existing, so we can tweak them. After all, you can't bend the rules if there aren't any to bend :P

    1. I, too, look at several recipes for the same thing and then combine elements of those recipes. But I agree, if you are not a very experienced cook you have to start somewhere. Baking is not as forgiving - it's chemistry.

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      1. re: serious

        agree totally. I look at several recipes to get the basic idea and to see how they differ. I rarely follow a recipe verbatim. Baking can be a little forgiving if you know the chemistry. I don't bake often.

      2. There are many very talented food writers, cooks and teachers who create recipes that give general amounts and teach people to cook by feel - these are still recipes. Generally the more skill and experience you have the less you need to follow precise instructions and measurements, but it is tough to develop the feel without following instructions first.

        The cooking/baking thing is a false dichotomy...cooking is chemistry just as much as baking is, and some baked cakes and breads are much more forgiving than stove top balances of acid/sweet, protein and temperature.

        2 Replies
        1. re: pepper_mil

          Thank you! Making a roux or a marinade relies just as much on proportion of ingredients as lots of baked recipes do. I have always found that adage about the difference between cooking and baking to be completely incorrect.

          1. re: pepper_mil

            ok I made the "that noise is for pastry chefs" comment because I thought it was funny...I still do. Sorry if I made anyone too upset. I actually bake a ton. Mostly by feel. I really encourage anyone who is shackled to recipies to simply cook more often. those chains are easily broken with experience. "stove top balances of acid and sweet protein and temp." Seriously? Taste, watch and smell. Words on a page don't know what is happening in my kitchen in front of me like I do. 20 min on high? What btu? 1 cup flour? how humid is it outside? 1 t lemon juice I prefer more plus as i said before the chef who wrote the recipe didn't put 1t of lemon into his or her's they tasted it adjusted it and then guessed how much they used when they wrote it down for us.

          2. I'm a buy sales and clean -out-the- fridge kinda cook. I too read recipes (Oid and prefer books to video screen) and then play with it. This is why I hesitate to post recipes, mine are so inexact. Last night made a Massaman curry; had garden cabbage and cauliflower in fridge, threw that in too.
            On the other hand, I don't mess much w/ New Mexican food recipes, when I use them.

            1. I know a lot of people (myself included) who love cookbooks but rarely or never follow a recipe verbatim. I think you're preaching to the converted here!

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