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Are you a "Dump Cook"?

nonamegoddess Feb 17, 2009 04:22 PM

You know what I mean ... you just dump stuff in instead of measuring LOL

That's my favorite way to cook but my recipes never come out the same.

  1. kattyeyes Feb 17, 2009 05:23 PM

    For the most part, no--I measure. For some things, it's just second nature (like meatloaf or meatballs), but generally, I like being able to replicate when something goes right, or knowing what to adjust when things fall short of my expectations. My best rationale for not being a "dump cook" is the time one of my best friends made a chicken pot pie from scratch. He made his own crust then freehanded all the ingredients in the pie filling--a little bit of this, a little bit of that--it was so delicious we could not shut up with "Mmmm" and oohs and ahhs throughout the meal. If someone overheard us, they'd have probably thought we were up to something other than eating pot pie. ;) That was probably 1994, and while my friend has tried for YEARS to duplicate the results of that pie, he has never made it QUITE as ultra-delicious as he did that day. It's like the lost chord. So what did I do? I tried to do it at home soon thereafter, but wrote all the ingredients/proportions down so I've had something to work with over the years. :)

    1 Reply
    1. re: kattyeyes
      Davwud Feb 18, 2009 03:24 AM

      When I was younger and we were all still with M&D, my sisters were always getting pissed because I'd cook something and then have no idea what it was I did. So no way to replicate.


    2. todao Feb 17, 2009 06:40 PM

      Yes, I'm a "dump cook". If I'm preparing a new recipe I usually follow it pretty closely the firs time. After that, I use my judgment and marginal notes on the recipe card to guide the process. BUT, if it's baking, it's a different story. The creative expression that "cooking" offers is not as not generous in the baking arena. I might "dump" a pinch of salt, or perhaps a few herbs, but for the major ingredient components (flour, sugar, BP, etc.) aren't things I'd get too reckless with.

      1. ipsedixit Feb 17, 2009 09:11 PM

        In fact, I don't even keep recipes -- written or otherwise.

        Baking, however, is a different matter.

        1 Reply
        1. re: ipsedixit
          food_eater79 Feb 17, 2009 09:32 PM

          Yep. I eyeball most measurements. Some turn out good, some not so much. If it's a first time recipe I'm trying I'll incorporate what I can into the dish. If I'm out of something or if it's unavailable I'll try to sub something in that I think will work. Speaking of subs I think I'll make one now. :D

          And no, I don't bake much.

        2. Davwud Feb 18, 2009 03:25 AM



          1. Phoo_d Feb 18, 2009 06:41 AM

            By nature I'm typically a "dump cook" ( I prefer to think of it as free wheeling!), however sharing recipes online has forced me to measure and write down a lot more. I do like to think that cooking with fresh ingredients is like live theater - every night is a unique experience never to be repeated quite the same way again and should be enjoyed as such. Baking, however, is a totally different story!

            2 Replies
            1. re: Phoo_d
              todao Feb 18, 2009 07:06 AM

              I've reviewed your "Blog". If that's your work you are VERY talented as a culinary artist. I'd be happy to share a meal at your table.

              1. re: todao
                Phoo_d Feb 18, 2009 12:54 PM

                *Blushing* Thanks Todao! With very limited choices in nearby restaurants we do what we can from home...

            2. chef chicklet Feb 18, 2009 08:33 AM

              No because when I cook and if it's a new dish, I will want to make it again. If I just dump ingredients, which I've done and regretted, the recipe is lost. Oh sure there are times when I've just had to make do with what was in the pantry and freezer, but generally I really like to plan my dish and then do it again if it's a hit. this is especially not good if you have someone taste the recipe and they want it. Ha! Then they try to make it and wonder why it didn't taste like yours. Plus, I'm passing my recipes to my sons because they've asked for them.

              1 Reply
              1. re: chef chicklet
                chef chicklet Feb 18, 2009 09:20 AM

                oops I might of misunderstood. Do you mean measuring with a measuring spoon? No then, I use my hand. I know what a Tablespoon and teaspoon is by sight. I guess I thought you meant just dumping whatever you have into a pot. Time to wake up now.

              2. Demented Feb 18, 2009 09:10 AM

                Cooking yes, baking I'll measure flour and other ingredients that need to be exact.

                Cooked for many years without measuring anything, didn't bother taking notes on what I did. Got in the habit of taking notes and measuring when I started writing recipes. I'm back to cooking by ear, but can estimate fairly accurately now how much of what went in.

                1. scubadoo97 Feb 18, 2009 11:20 AM

                  I don't measure so I guess I'm a "dump cook" except I don't like the sound of that title. I like to think about it as a mental measure since I have a good sense of what needs to be dumped in.

                  1. Will Owen Feb 18, 2009 12:47 PM

                    My rule of thumb: if it has flour in it, everything gets measured, otherwise just wing it. There are exceptions: if I'm making something I've never even approximately done before, I'll follow the recipe; if the flour is just for coating it doesn't count. As several folks have noted, though, a lot of things I cook by eyeball and memory are dishes I'd like to pass along, so sometimes I'll take note of how much this got mixed with how much that, and then go write it down and eventually type it into a TextEdit document. Then when someone asks for a recipe I've got a bunch all ready to post. You're welcome ;-)

                    1. alwayscooking Feb 18, 2009 02:50 PM

                      Definitely a 'dump' cook. Mainly because I rarely cook with a single recipe but a variety of them of which I take things I want to add to create tonight's dish.

                      Or I cook from memory.
                      Or some days just seem like a 'cumin' day.
                      Or the tomatoes are tarter on a particular day and need a bit of balance.
                      Or I want to try a different technique.

                      A dish may never taste exactly the same again but, hey, I'm not a restaurant. For the vast majority of the time, it tastes pretty good (and sometimes sublime - and sometimes it's just going to live and die in the freezer. )

                      This really annoys friends and family who think I'm coy or protective of my secrets. Nope, just hate to follow directions! (of course, I do not bake!)

                      PS I've been a little better about curbing my creativity when cooking the French Laundry,

                      1. j
                        jaykayen Feb 18, 2009 02:55 PM


                        Even if I don't measure, I'm still eyeballing it, so it's just less precise measuring.

                        1. Boccone Dolce Feb 19, 2009 03:01 AM

                          Yes. Not an issue for me, I'm a taster. I have 1,000 spoons when I cook for company. If it's just us, I may use the stirring spoon...
                          I taught my nephew to taste, taste, taste everything, this way you know what else it needs, and to start with tiny amounts and build up until he knows about how much of each he likes... he is now a great dump cook!

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