Saturday, September 13, 2008

The importance of reading (and trying) recipes

Recipes are a learning tool.

I didn't attend culinary school and haven't much formal training in cooking. Most of the techniques I have learned were taught to me through reading and then trying someone's recipe.

Challenge yourself by reworking recipes.

Reworking recipes is a fantastic exercise that has helped me build confidence in culinary improvisation. I'll do such things as ingredient substitutions or building my own dish by cherry picking elements from a few recipes.

When reworking recipes, experiment and don't be afraid to fail when doing it.

Thanks to a failed dish, my wife and I have eaten cereal for dinner on more than one occasion. At the time, it's pretty frustrating. You spend 2 hours prepping and cooking only to be rewarded with a bowl of Golden Grahams and a sink full of dishes. However, in the long run, I've learned something extremely valuable. I've learned why something didn't work.

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