Kitchen Compromise and Mysteries of the Universe

I’m a compromiser. In day-to-day life I am a rule keeper, goodie-good type but when it comes to creative endeavour the rule-keeper in me keeps quiet and the rebel comes out to play.

I often find mid-recipe that in fact I don’t have all the required elements.

So I throw in something else or several something elses and ‘make it work’. This is probably why one infamous family member coined the innocent sounding enquiry ‘did you use a recipe for this?’

I do have certain friends who will leave the kitchen mid-recipe to buy the thyme or rosemary as I throw in some mixed herbs or some other herb that ‘might be similar’.

It is not superior food knowledge or a well-developed palate that gives me such abandon with carefully written and tasted recipes – no. I can’t quite put my finger on exactly why I do this – laziness, over-confidence,  lack of organisation, not caring, being prepared to eat most things, cooking for boys who are prone to add lemon-pepper or tomato sauce to everything….

Whatever it is I am sure it is why I am limited to what I shall affectionately call – ‘low-brow’ cooking. It’s hard to throw in a compromise when the recipe has ingredients you’ve never heard of and you aren’t sure if they are a herb and liqueur or some fancy Italian sausage.

It’s the same kind of thing that holds me back from making jam and bottling fruit – if I can’t even be exact about following a recipe can I really trust my ability to sterilise the jars correctly. And what about pectin????

As you can see I have my quirks. So what about you will you get into a compromising situation in the kitchen or do your morals and ethics ensure a perfectly executed dish with a proper balance of flavours every time?

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9 responses

  1. Great post, I have to say that even though I am the most disorganized, lazy & messy person I know I have this underlying urge to do things as I am told, I suppose similar to yourself. If there is a way of getting someone else to run to the shop to get what I need then even better! Esp if they take the kids with them so I can have a moment to concentrate on what I am making!

    But I love being familiar with a recipe (esp in front of friends ;)) when I throw in a handful of this and a few taps of that and they think you are wonder woman!

    So what is the first picture of they look yummy!

  2. Yes, I’d like to know what those wrinkly things are too! I’m a recipe follower, not by nature, but by food disapointments too many, so now I keep to the cook book straight and narrow!

  3. Just so you know the ‘winkly things’ are the uncooked version of mini chicken pies.

  4. Haha, i laughed when i started reading your post. I am a rule follower too, but in recent years I have become a bit of a rebel in the kitchen…lol. I substitute and trust my palate for adding flavours.. Because I now have coeliacs and dairy and egg intolerances I have learnt to be a lot more inventive in my cooking…with some great results… and some not so great. lol.

  5. I am a rule follower in pretty much everything apart from creating/cooking. Instructions for crochet/sewing get thrown out the window if they don’t suit what I want to do (which explains why things invariably turn out wrong, but at least look homemade!). I extremely rarely follow a recipe (maybe once a quarter) and make things up as I go along. It used to annoy my husband, until I started pretending that I had indeed followed a recipe. Although I suspect he now knows that this is a small white lie!! I just can’t be bothered to look up recipes in books before going on the food shop so I wing it and buy meat, fish and veg that may go together! Most of the time it all works out and no one is wasting away. Nothing wrong with getting creative in the kitchen. The chicken pies look delish BTW. xxx

  6. You really should give preserving and jam making a go – it is so easy. I used to always sterilise my jars in the oven and stand the lids in boiling water ( back in the ‘old’ days) but now that we have a dishwasher I just put them through that. It is so easy. the recipes in the Edmonds cookbook are good so have a go – there is also a wee ‘pectin’ testing part in there too. If I am not sure whether a jam will set I just throw some lemon juice in and a small muslin bag of the lemon pips while the fruit is cooking and haul it out before I add sugar. If you are worried about mess then put the pot outside on the bbq ( I do that for pickles so the vinegar doesn’t stink the house out).

  7. recipe books???? Um what??? the only one I use is the edmonds one for when I do muffins, coz I can never remember the base mixture… then I add anything that could be related to a muffin for flavour. (then I remember that I left my muffin tray at James’s and have to put it into a bread tin to make it a ‘loaf’ (the bread tin has never been used to bake bread. EVER.) and, I can only read the recipe once I have pulled the food encrusted pages apart.
    I never ever have all the ingredients for ANYthing.
    But mostly it turns out okay on the night.
    Mostly.

  8. Ha – great post. I follow some of life’s day-to-day rules, but when it comes to food, I’m a bit of a freestyler. I LOVE trying new recipes but I can’t stick to them; I just can’t help myself from adding something to make it better, or changing something if I don’t have an ingredient.

    I trust my abilities as a good cook, though, and my changes always seem to work out.

    Oh, and great minds think alike: http://tallshortandtiny.wordpress.com/2011/06/16/the-perils-of-addiction/ 🙂

  9. Awesome post!! I’m also a rebel in the kitchen.. Things work out, and if someone else doesn’t want to eat it then there’s always toast 😛

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