Recipes Are Made To Be Broken, Part One

I love reading cookbooks, but I rarely follow recipes exactly. I treat recipes as learning tools and think that - most of the time - exactly following a recipe is a mistake.

When someone creates a recipe, they are creating it from a particular point of view with a particular set of tools. Ovens and stovetop ranges all have their peculiarities. The oven in the house I grew up in had some issues, including a definite hot-spot. Baking in it would be a very different experience than baking in a high-end oven with incredible temperature control, much less one of those newfangled hybrid radiant/convection ovens. Even a medium heat on a high-end Viking gas range is going to be different than the medium heat on a forty year old electric burner.

The recipe author and I are unlikely to be using identical ingredients. Fresh foods not only have a different taste, but (due to things as simple as moisture content) they can cook differently than foods that have been stored. The source of your food matters - what sort of soil were your vegetables grown in? It will make a difference. Spices and dried herbs lose flavor with age. How fresh are the ingredients being used by the recipe author? Are they fresher than yours? Not as fresh? Even among ingredients of similar freshness, there are going to be significant differences. Not all tomatoes are created equally. Even processed ingredients can vary. Different brands of butter might have different salt content. Even the same brand in another country will often have a different formula.

The other thing to keep in mind is that people have varying preferences. Even if you had the recipe exactly as prepared by the author, it might not be designed to suit your tastes. While you select recipes based upon what sounds good to you, chances are good that the recipe author didn't have you in mind when they created the recipe. So, while the general flavor profile of a dish might be appealing to you, there's a decent chance that it can be tweaked so that you'll like it even more.

I treat recipes as frameworks. A recipe, to me, is a set of guidelines for creating a dish. I might change very little, or I might substitute something in for nearly every ingredients.

In this series of posts, I'm going to discuss how I use recipes, how I learn from them, and how I break them up into little pieces and put them back together again.

    Read part two and three.


I totally agree with these comments. Every oven has its own personality!!

I hate being told what to do so I never follow recipes exactly ;)

My wife teases me about my inability to leave it be. I just gotta try something to make it different. I'm always looking at something and thinking, "What can I do to trick it up a bit?"

Sometimes that works for me, sometimes it doesn't...

Plus, I cook mostly in the dutch oven on my back porch, so a lot of the "normal" recipes, I have to mod a bit to make it work. It's all good, ya know? Taste is the final arbiter...

I so agree with you. A recipe in a book is a framework...On the rare occasion I follow the recipe exactly, I end up eating the meal saying to myself 'now if I had done it this way, or added that, I think it would improve this dish.

I am starting to experiment more lately, but still have a tendency to stick pretty close to the original recipe the first time I make a dish. You must love Mark Bittman's cookbooks (I think of them as a choose-your-own adventure book for foodies).

Stuart Broz's picture

Bittman is pretty good.

Good luck experimenting!

This is the best article which i read in a long time,,in Jingxi lived for several years,monster headphones outlet online,did not know there are two ancient,coach purses outlet online,ginkgo yuquan road,,also in the day thinking about,,daigakuji ancient ginkgo tree,louis vuitton shoes factory,two nights ago,,went to wukesong faye wong concert,coach store outlet online,although not on the ticket bought,,but because from the past,it qucourenao,north face clearance outlet,ambulances parked outside,police or something,a group of aunt dancing,fans in the pitifully sparse such tickets,gucci shoes uk,I got into the first crossing,crossing into the second,,I heard that there is also two crossings,north face jackets outlet online,I suddenly felt a dull,still guarded than prison,,today,coach factory outlet,faye wong money on a tool,that has been very far away from the singer,polo outlet online,since then,michael kors outlet,not like faye wong,on the way back,michael kors outlet online,since the days of late,,people have less,,passing yuquan road,suddenly attracted by a crown,mcm handbags outlet,I take a closer look,this is not a ginkgo do,,I was very surprised from FangFang.

to ugg make canada goose sure you moncler social versions among the u . s. together with Asia, moncler outlet core film canada goose moving target demographic ugg for many moncler only do not understand a cult phenomena. A substantial amount of which is moncler related True Religion Outlet to all the halloween costumes not to mention Sac Lancel little towns and cities. moncler "In first, everything required is moncler usually Doudoune Canada Goose 15 short minutes daily, 34 circumstances 1 week, " states Helene Byrne, moncler initiator associated with BeFit mama, a great via the internet source of moncler information pertaining to prenatal moncler in addition to postpartum working out not to mention inventor in the CD Jump Again Rapid! Posting Natal Key Energetic. Following concerning canada goose 20 2 or 3 weeks, Byrne claims your moncler system may perhaps be able Prada Outlet to revisit your current moncler prepregnancy well being process. For Doudoune Parajumpers anyone who is however canada goose hurting moncler to tory burch outlet earn point in christian louboutin outlet time, locate a health and Doudoune Canada Goose fitness which offers moncler babysitting, louis vuitton outlet buy moncler strolling baby buggy, or possibly moncler locate a health training similar to Mummy Canada Goose not to mention ugg Infant duvetica yoga and fitness for you coach outlet to Lancel Pas Cher provide your son or daughter

Unfortunately, Coach Factory Store, I do not want you in the future, Coach Outlet Online USA, painstakingly well-intentioned, well-intentioned bitter, Michael Kors Outlet, can you, Michael Kors Outlet Online, but you,, as I love you, Gucci Shoes Outlet, or you did not put your gear in addition to long-forgotten shabby homes, Coach Purses Outlet, if one day you're tired of wandering outside, Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Online, thought we had in the past, Louis Vuitton Outlet, can come and enjoy the quiet share aftertaste, Louis Vuitton Shoes Outlet, although the residual dream, Polo Outlet Online, but the situation has been spread, Monster Beats Outlet Online, the passage of time never to return, Ugg Boots Outlet, moon waxed and waned in the blink of an eye,, I am with you that have come together for some years, Coach Purses Outlet Online, true and beautiful, Coach Factory Outlet Online, years trance, Michael Kors Outlet Store, haggard face, North Face Outlet Online, but between you bit by bit, curtain curtain curtain engraved in mind, North Clearance Outlet, how can we forget, how relieved Arabian Nights Yanshan night language, Coach Factory Online, because your memory, Coach Purse On Sale, my life was not loneliness, MCM Handbags Outlet, my life was full of beautiful value.

Red flowers is a grass, Canada Goose Outlet, she grew up in the paddy fields, Ralph Lauren UK, open purple flowers, Marc Jacobs Outlet Online, as fertilizer for the rice, Ugg Boots Outlet, in the hometown of the fields, Coach Factory Online, she is extremely unusual, MCM Backpack Outlet, but I do blame her soft spot, North Clearance, kid, Longchamp Paris, spring season, Gucci Outlet, mother dig vegetables, Coach Outlet, I always love followed,, Fields, Burberry Outlet, is a large a large red flowers, lush, Polo Lauren Ralph, like a big flower bed, Michael Kors Outlet, thick quilt covering, Monster Beats Black Friday, a Qiuqiu rice fields, Polo Outlet Online, this time I'll get rid of the mother, expand your hands, MCM リュック, enjoy ran back, Michael Kors Outlet Online, and forth across the field, Coach Purses Outlet Online, shouting.

Xu is jealously guarding its show floor, Coach Factory Shop, several times to know that, Coach Factory Outlet Online, I am no spring speech, Coach Factory, anxiety witnessed in my youth, UGG Boots Sale, wan sigh passage of time, Louis Vuitton Outlet, and suddenly a horizon, Coach Store Online, unaccompanied overnight, Coach Outlet, another through the exchange of joy sorrow, Coach Factory Online, my heart more of a consolation, Gucci Shoes Outlet, perhaps their fertility daughter, too insight into, Coach Outlet Online, the psychological, Coach Purses Outlet Online, stick to pure and, Coach Purses Outlet, noble by the window, Louis Vuitton Shoes Outlet, listening to the storm, Michael Kors Outlet, comforting at the same time, Black Friday, deploring the loosening sigh, North Face Jackets Outlet, perhaps ascertain my inner, Coach Outlet USA, privacy after vaguely consider, Coach Handbags Outlet, the value of the previous, Coach Bags Outlet, me scenery then the United States. replica bvlgari online Even so below within a bayside flatlands along with Redwood coast replica tag heuer watches‎ , The foundation of the dappling low would look like we are the emerald green small municipality

Not graduated from high school, Ralph Lauren UK, less than seventeen years old, Beats By Dre Solo, nephew also calls, Moncler Jackets Outlet, back into the plant, said in an electronics, Sacs Longchamp Pairs, factory work, Michael Kors Outlet, village resumed, Burberry Outlet Online, its former calm, North Jackets Clearance, mother, Ugg Australia, old people, Coach Factory Outlet Online, or a good quiet spot, Woolrich Outlet, she brought me a steaming, Michael Kors Factory Outlet, cup of mint tea, Polo Ralph Lauren Outlet Online, I clearly see, Michael Kors Outlet Online, the eyes of the elderly, Discount Beats by Dre, rich lost, Ralph Lauren Outlet Online, like this familiar home, MCM Bags Sale, after decades of ups, North Clearance Outlet Online, and downs in the past, Barbour Jackets Outlet, I have not found traces, Gucci Shoes Factory, what I want, Coach Factory, only new home yard planted, Canada Goose Outlet, landscape tree Rui Lei, Hollister UK Shops, dew glistening, Moncler Clearance, in the glow of the Cheap Oakley Sunglasses new green of spring.