Learning and teaching each other to cook by feel is one of our recurring themes here on the Kitchn. Jenni Field of the blog Pastry Methods and Techniques agrees and has some strong words about recipes and cooking:
A recipe is safe. It provides us with structure: lists of interesting ingredients, cooking times, temperature settings, Rules for Success and a description of the End Product. That’s all well and good, but recipes maintain a Suspicious Silence when it comes to teaching us how to cook.
What's to be done? Read on...
With humor and a few pointed barbs, Field goes on to challenge her readers to break away from the tyranny of the recipe and the need to follow recipes to the letter for fear of doing something wrong.
She says recipes can teach us how to cook, but you just have to work at it a little. Field instructs us to find a favorite recipe and break it down not for ingredients and procedure, but for core techniques. This way, you learn skills that can be applied to all kinds of other cooking situations.
Oh, we'd quote her entire article here if we could - it's just that spot on! Definitely hop on over to her blog at some point today and read the entire piece for yourself:
• The Tyranny of the Recipe from Jenni Field of Pastry Methods and Techniques
While you're over there, poke around Jenni's blog. She has some great info on baking and making restaurant-quality pastries at home!
What do you think: can you learn from a recipe?
More on Cooking by Feel: Blogging Gourmet: Grocery Shopping During a Recession