Saturday, November 17, 2012
About 20 years ago I got a book, 1000 classic recipes. It was hard covered, but about the size of a paperback book. Unlike many recipe books that have separate pages with pictures of each recipe, it was more for a professional cook, with similar recipes collected together on a page. It listed each recipe by the main ingredient, whether meat, poultry, fish, vegetable, dessert, or baked. Then it would divide it by method of cooking, dry cooking like grill or broil, moist cooking like saute', or wet cooking like stews and soups. Except for the baking part, which is as much a science as anything, the recipes only listed the ingredients, not the amount. Baking you need to know exactly how much of items like yeast and baking soda and baking powder, how much flour and sugar, how much liquid and fat to make it rise and color how you want it to. With most other recipes, you cook by taste, smell, touch, look, and even sound. You add the other ingredients by how you want it to end up. Some people like food more well done, or with more garlic, or hotter spices, or rarer, and milder. Being as it was made with the professional in mind, it was written so they could adjust the taste to their kitchen's cuisine, or taste. Since the recipe started without an ingredient list it was easier to convert the recipe. I enjoyed this book much more then many other cookbooks as I am in control of the outcome. It wasn't just a by the numbers book, but a creative, DIY, cookbook. For years I've been a cook, but never considered myself a chef. I was trained on the job, at times by those who created the recipes, or knew the science and art of cooking enough to adjust them to the tastes of their clientele. Now that I am working in a cafeteria, where the numbers and clock count rather then creativity, where you are making 100s of identical items, I can see how I was closer to a chef then just a cook, because I enjoyed making something different, creating my own recipes, working from my senses as much as from the book.