Because I’m such a public cook, it often happens that people ask what was in a dish or how it was made. And almost all the time I’m happy to answer. I really do believe that cooking is sharing and that hoarding anything, including information, is bad for the soul. And sometimes I do write recipes and give them out, as when I give cooking classes or now, on this blog.
And yet I have to admit, I have a love/hate relationship with recipes. Publishing recipes makes me uneasy. What if a typo or some oversight in my recipe ruins your dinner? You see the problem. Unlike Betty Crocker who has a team of home economists testing and retesting each recipe (I’ve toured the General Mills test kitchens, I can vouch that this is true), I’m just a poor, lone cook, with limited resources, hoping to be helpful.
What I’m getting to is this: when approaching a new recipe, be aware. Be alert. Even the most reputable cookbooks have been known to contain errors. Read the recipe all the way through to the end before beginning. Make sure all the ingredients and procedures make sense. Taste. And taste again. Follow the recipe the first time to understand what it’s all about, but after that make it your own. Adapt it to your kitchen and to the needs and desires of the people you’re cooking for. Good cooking is not so much a matter of following written rules as it is of paying attention to the smells, sounds and tastes around us. The people you feed will give you clues, some spoken, most not as to how the food suited them. How did you feel after eating, or the next day? These are all things to keep in mind when when cooking the same dish again.
And so, I give you recipes, but please consider them works in progress. Be it known, they are my humble attempts to communicate something that I have cooked, but they may not be cookbook ready. To be honest, I’m hoping all of you will be my recipe testers. Please give me feedback, tell me how to improve them. And if there are recipes you’d like me to post, let me know and I will attempt to do so. There may be a cookbook in all this some day, and I’d love to list your name as among those who contributed! Happy cooking!
N.B. Recipes appear by clicking on the titles under Pages, to the right of this column. Email me your comments on the recipes to AlinderSF@aol.com