Sunday, December 24, 2006

Licentious Cooking

To me a picture (specially a few moving ones) is worth a thousand words if the words are those of a recipe. I find it hard to follow recipes beyond getting the measure of things and a general sense of where the ingredients are directionally headed once combined. The rest is all improvisation. Chances are what I end up creating is nothing like what the recipe intended for it to be.

What's more I would not be able to replicate it another time - the temptation to try some new variation on the theme would be too strong to resist. I have been on a baking spree the last couple of weeks - its an exercise in discipline, persevering and following directions to the end - the Zen of cooking.

The one time, I tried to put my own spin on a crusty French bread was an unmitigated disaster. I know I have long ways to go before I can turn even remotely creative with my baking. It is a goal worth striving for because needing a cook book or a recipe to me has always been about needing a crutch - its what I need until having understood the difference between the letter and spirit of things.

A recipe is another person's interpretation of food and how it tastes best, a spur of the moment change to most or all parts of it is when I am ready to start calling it mine. When I have changed it enough to no longer know what to call it is when it truly becomes all mine - that's when J will say "Mommy, make the thing you made the day R and his mom came with his baby sisters". I can come close to what she is asking for and the part that will turn out different will be a pleasant surprise.

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