Thursday, March 22, 2012

Culinary Quote Archive (Part 2): On Neglecting Recipes

"Cooking is an observation-based process that you can't do if you're so completely focused on a recipe." -Alton Brown

In many ways, my refusal to read instructions, or at least to adhere to them completely, has provided me the opportunity to experiment with things in my own way. This hasn't always been the best plan (like when trying assemble my IKEA furniture) but it seems to have worked out in my favor so far as a cook and professional foodie. Don't get me wrong, I have certainly peeked at a recipe or two to get an idea of the way things should go when trying out new dishes, but not once have I followed a recipe down to the very last pinch of salt. There's just no excitement or potential for growth in that method. I prefer to empower myself with the will to create, and for that, I must be willing to lose myself in the cooking process. Recipes, for me, are a hindrance, blinders that shield me from the sensory wonders defining the entire culinary adventure. Learning to cook is not about reproducing a dish that another mind has already conceived, but rather about experiencing the sights, sounds, smells, tastes, and textures of the ingredients and the masterpieces they ultimately construct through imaginative manipulation. The great beauty in my comprehension of this concept is the fact that my growth as a cook (and also as a person) will be interminable.

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