So nice to see you back. I’m always amazed when people say it’s impossible to learn to cook from books, since that’s how I managed. Now I use recipes sometimes, sometimes not, though I think cooking for so long has given me tools for improvising when I wish. I do also carry around a lot of baking recipes in my head, which is certainly convenient.
Recipes are great! I don’t get it either.
Do you throw the cooked rice into the uncooked eggs? I’d never thought of doing that. One of my Deborah Madison books says to use cooked quinoa in pancake batter, which I have been thinking of trying.
It’s not a recipe if it’s presented in narrative format? I guess it’s like they’re trying to recreate the experience (for the modern world) of having your mother-in-law stand over you and explain how to make your husband’s favorite pie, both of you wearing aprons. Except, you know, it’s not at all like that. It appears to be a regular recipe except that you have to hunt through the narrative to find ingredients and quantities for your shopping list. Bon Appetit has been doing that a lot lately. Real casual-like.
For some people ‘salt to taste’ is too vague. I love a recipe too and tend to refer to them all the time even when it is a old standby. If nothing else it helps making out the shopping list, not too mention preparing multiple dishes all at once.
Thank you! I’m really not into this trend. I do fine without recipes–that’s not why I go to food sites. I look for recipes there to expand my horizons and push my skills and palette in new directions! I really don’t need a food blog to tell me how to improvise chicken soup.
I can always count on Lottie + Doof for the voice of reason in all the madness. I haven’t been so into the internet for getting my (non)recipes these days, so was unaware of the trend. But man, that’s infuriating.
Welcome back! Been coming to your site for years. I have noticed that trend lately and even though I sometimes tweak their recipe and put my own spend on it, I still like to have a recipe handy. Some type of instructions and like you said, a “list” to follow. But, ultimately I get inspired from what I read.
LOL. Apparently ‘cooking without a recipe’ means: the recipe is inconveniently hidden in narrative form, but with ingredients in bold so you can just about pick out a list… I think we’d all prefer your way!
I’m a big fan of a recipe – maybe that’s why I was comfortable making this non-recipe recipe pretty quickly when I first spotted it! I used ground pork instead of chicken and it was great, starting to rethink dinner for tonight now…
Recipes 4 EVAH. If I don’t have a recipe, I don’t even know how much to buy of something to make sure I have enough! I also need an idea about servings, prep and cooking time, and pot/pan size needed. A little help, please!
Of course, the more you cook, the more you will get very sure with techniques and know your favorite ways of preparing items. You will surely be able to turn out meals by muscle memory. But when you’re a new cook, or you’re trying something you’ve never made before, you need clues.
Glad you’re back. I find it funny to read their idea of cooking without recipes. I think maybe somebody found old issues of Gourmet magazine and jumped on the idea. Gourmet’s recipes were written in narrative until sometime in the early 1980s. Many of the old cookbooks, like “The Joy of Cooking” and Vincent Price’s “Treasury of Great Recipes” are also written somewhat like that. I like using recipes so the results are consistent and I make notes on them when I make changes. I also make notes if something is below expectations, or a couple of years later, the recipe will turn up again and I will forget that it wasn’t great the first time.
Thanks for writing this! When I first started cooking for myself in college, I think I had this notion that cooking from cookbooks was for people who didn’t have any intuitive understanding of cooking. But in retrospective, I really didn’t know what I was doing as I was winging it. Cookbooks have definitely made me a better cook. But more importantly, it’s a whole genre (with many sub-genres) that engages my imagination in a different way than the other things I read. Sure, I can put dinner together without my books, but I can’t imagine my home without them.
By the way, would you consider putting an easy link to reading your old posts? Some people like to read the archives of their favorite blogs on rainy days. Asking for a friend, etc.
I fully support not doing most of the things food journalism thinks we should be doing these days…like sitting around being all nonchalant in distressed textiles with friends and candles and complicated fish and cocktails that the magazine claim are “a breeze”…or using the word “riff” and the suffix “able”, as in nom-able and riffable. High five recipes!