Monday, June 9, 2008

Recipe deal breakers???

Michael Ruhlman recently addressed a New York Times article (that had an awesome comment by the author of French Laundry at Home... who also happens to have an interview with Ruhlman up this week) that addressed "recipe deal breakers". Those things that you run across, when going thru a recipe, that make you go "uh-uh, no way, moving on....."

Now, I can see an ingredient being a deal breaker for people who don't know how to do substitutions (like my own relationship with cilantro in pretty much anything but Thai food). If it is something you know you don't like, well yeah, the recipe is obviously not going to appeal to you. Or, a recipe that calls for cooking equipment that you don't have, or ingredients you can't find where you live. It happens.

But, the article (and the comments on the NYT site) seemed to focus more on people finding things too difficult or restrictive or stuffy. And there is part of me that doesn't get that.

Sure, I'm not going to plan on making some grand, labor-intensive thing for "everyday", weeknight cooking. It's just not going to happen. But there is something fun about having something that is a little challenging and even a bit intimidating, and taking the time to tackle it a destroy the mystique and realize it's not that hard.

I've been trying to get my mind around it.... trust me, I know half-assed-ness and laziness in "everday" cooking. I used a seasoning packet for taco meat tonight, for Escoffier's sake. After 8 plus hours in a mentally challenging job, my mind can become cheese whiz and I do not have the mental energy to tackle something challenging. But, there is so much fulfillment from doing something ambitious... and either mastering it, or at least knowing you tried and knowing what you might do differently next time, or just understanding your own limits. Even just trying something different. Man (or woman) does not live by boneless, skinless chicken breasts alone.

Where does it come from? Are people just that scared of cooking? Do they not realize that the pizza man is still only a phone call away after a horrendous kitchen disaster? That the disasters are what you learn from?? Is it fear? Is it hate? Is it just not understanding the pride of something well accomplished??

And ya'll.... what are your recipe deal breakers? Right now, mine are pretty much ingredients I know the hubby won't deal with (I'm more willing to explore things I think I hate than he is), or a lack of equipment that I can't work around (no roasting pan, I can deal with.... I have a big-ass cast iron skillet and I don't mind some smoke from the oven).

6 comments:

Hurricane Mikey said...

You been watching Jeopardy this week? Escoffier was the answer to a Final Jeopardy question the other night.

Coincidence, or something more...?

Scarehaircare said...

Lack of specialized equipment that I can't work around, ethnic ingredients that I would have no idea what to use for substitutions (I usually get around that by asking my local ethnic grocer). Other than that, bring it on! I love tackling seemingly difficult recipes, too.

Scarehaircare said...

Lack of specialized equipment that I can't work around, ethnic ingredients that I would have no idea what to use for substitutions (I usually get around that by asking my local ethnic grocer). Other than that, bring it on! I love tackling seemingly difficult recipes, too.

Rosie Hawthorne said...

There are no deal breakers for me. I'm game for anything. I love trying new foods. Only wish I could find more stuff. And I loved making sweetbreads the other week and not telling Mr. H. what he was eating, which, by the way, he loved, until I made him read my blog and he saw what he'd eaten and he ran for the colon cleanse. Wussy.

MrsVJW said...

Dude... Escoffier was on Jeopardy? Sweet! And I did not get it from Jeopardy... despite the love of Spam, I do border on "foodie" sometimes.

Care - I figured you'd be on the same page.

And Rosie - I *loved* the entries with that. I've had a love of finding out that I like "gross" things that my dad started when I was a kid and he'd bring home chocolate covered bugs and every exotic meat he could find. Guess Mr. H needed to start early.

That Word Guy said...

Cool-whip is pretty much a deal breaker for me. Stiffly whipped cream doesn't hold its texture long enough to be a true substitute.