On Recreating the Foods I've Loved

Kitchen Diaries: Kate in New York City

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They say imitation is the finest form of flattery, right? That's a good thing, because if I just ate something delicious, chances are I'm going to try to recreate it tomorrow! This week in the kitchen, I realized my utter obsession with trying to recreate anything delicious that passes my plate whether at a friend's house or a four star restaurant. The result? Sometimes delicious, always adventurous.

As a kid, I was always trying to get my parents to take us out to eat. While grandma's lasagna is the ultimate treat as an adult, the freedom of diverse options was what really wowed me about restaurants. My go-to meal when visiting my father at his work? A strange trio of salad, Jell-O, and some other indescribable side dish in a Styrofoam cup. So many options, so many dishes I had never tried at home!

Back at home, I'd try to get my mother to recreate the meal we'd enjoyed while eating out. My curiosity knew no bounds, as I tried my luck recreating everything from my favorite candy bars to the best buttermilk ranch dressing (to be fair, it was maybe the best I've ever had to this date) to fluffy IHOP pancakes.

In the early days of internet recipe searching, my mother and I would scour the Top Secret Recipes website for copycat versions of favorite restaurant dishes. For me, it was always a curiosity thing. Could I just go buy that candy bar for $1? Sure. But it was more fun to give it a try. Tasting a bit at a time, I would try to identifying what ingredients were in a dish.

This week, I realized what an essential role this curiosity plays in creating delicious meals. For weeks, I'd been dreaming of the lentil salad a friend prepared until finally I made it my own one evening. There's something so gratifying about recreating a delicious meal, even though it might not be exactly the same. The adventure always leads to something interesting, and hopefully edible!

What's your proudest moment recreating a meal you experienced?

(Image credits: Faith Durand)