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« Where did my hope go when it was lost? | Main | Family Recipes, The Stories. »

10 November 2008

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Thats interesting. It is odd how upset people get at other people for their recipes. Its also amazing when 500 people make the same thing how everyone gets such different results and loves and hates something.

Mmm, love anzac biscuits, cant wait to hear about that!!

1-Kung pao chicken and mapo tofu...how they came so far off the tracks I have no idea. I guess I wasn't a good enough friend to the recipe. But they haven't seen the last of me!
2-my mother's carrot cake....ditto above. I knew I should have paid more attention when I was a kid!!

Thanks for another great essay. Your thoughtful commentary always makes me want to approach my cooking more...well...thoughtfully!

Shuna, try this ANZAC recipe. Granted, this is the only recipe I've ever made them from, but I think they're fantastic, as does everyone I've ever served them to. The non-traditional citrus brightens them up wonderfully, and using whole wheat pastry flour adds depth and weight that I haven't been able to recreate with AP flour.
Le yum: from : Heidi Swanson at 101 cookbooks.

Great post. And so, SO true!

Hope you having a nice time on this side of the Atlantic. :)

Shuna, what a great post. For a wedding in Sept. we gave pots & pans to a good friend for a gift. Now she
wants me to give her some of my favorite recipes. So I'm making her a small cook book for Christmas. Could I use your post as an introduction?? It's such great advice and said with wisdom & humor, as usual.
Good luck in London.

Swedish Meringue Horns. Buttery, light, ethereal, one-bite little beauties -- but what a bitch to make! A yeasty pate brisee divided in 10 small balls, each rolled out individually into circles, covered in a meringue and pecans, divided into 8 triangles, rolled up like crescents (messy little suckers!). Once baked they are drizzled with a glaze and more pecans. All this 10 times! Takes forever and what a mess, but oh sooo worth it! A favorite Christmas cookie that I haven't made in years, but you've inspired me, Shuna! I just discovered your blog recently, and you are wonderful writer! I can only imagine how good your food must be...

Gingerbread. Last year was apple pie...this year is gingerbread.

Spekulaas! That's Dutch! \o/

Would love to read about that.

Excellent post. I love it when you give me something to think about.

And I'm very glad you're off the political posts. :-P

I did this recently with chili (spreadsheet and everything). The recipe still needs work, but I came up with a few things that do and don't work.

ANZAC biscuits is how we Aussies refer to them. Take them out of the oven slightly before you think they are cooked so they are a bit chewy, that's the best way to have them.

Once you start them you will find it hard to stop eating them.

Thank you Uncle Hunty, the ANZAK change has been made. Sorry about that. Posting at 3 am means mistakes... ~ Shuna

What an awesome guide. I am printing this out for inspiration!

I am convinced...if I make a recipe of my mother's the exact same way she does, by her side, it will not turn out as delicious as hers. Why?
Because she made it...not me.

Great post. Keep up the good work.

Thanks for writing these sort of food essays. I can certainly identify with them. My sister gets scared with I try to mess up a baking recipe, she says, "Isn't baking an exact science? You can't just go adding and removing stuff."

Early this year, I experimented trying to make a Flourless 'White' Chocolate Cake... I know it's impossible, but no one told me THAT! So, I had to learn the hard way - TWICE! Such a waste of good chocolate. I wanted to flavor it with raspberry. I'm still determined, but now I know it can't be done with the regular flourless chocolate cake method.

Beans. All types, like lentils, peas, pigeon peas, garbanzos, etc. With rice(s): brown basmati, risotto, sushi.

Cool to hear your A/B/C methodology for testing the variables. I thought about this question of how many variables there are in a simple bran muffin and came up with 23,135,212,800,000 distinguishable recipes.

Fucking. Awesome. Post.

This was brilliant. I used to be a recipe follower to the letter. When I finally let myself experiment according to my tastes is when I found great food and my own culinary voice.

And another thing, did you ever notice sex with the same person can be different too, depending on where you are in the world? hmmmmm. something to think about.

I love recipes. I hate recipes coz I am drowning in a million flourless cake recipes......I read them, write them down from every possible source, into books, pieces of paper and even hoarde them!

I have some handed down from my grandmother, my teachers, famous chefs...but I have learnt that it is more about the technique and the chemistry, that is why the same recipe morphs according to the hands that make them!

I worked in a kitchen once where I was "punished" for applying to a better restaurant by being sidelined to pastry. The pastry chef was fanatical about keeping her recipes -- for fairly foolproof and unimpressive things -- secret. The worst part is she only worked three days a week and had no clue as to the dynamics of service. If we ran out of something I'd have to call her cell and she'd walk me through it.

On the other hand, my current, ultra-talented, Beard Award-winning (savory) chef uses a written recipe for everything, even including the amount of salt in grams or as a percentage of the component. It makes no sense to me that more savory chefs do not do this. There are still a million possible end results and ways to screw up but it at least removes a few variables.

Great list! I am always amazed how many different results can come from the people using the same recipe. I also laugh when somebody has issue and quickly blames it on the recipe source. I think that is the way of the world though, rarely taking individual responsibility. That's why I love your blog, because you do!

Thank you Ms. Tartelette, This means a lot to me coming from someone as talented as you! Where have we gotten to as a society that all our ails are always someone else's fault? Not a good sign. Perhaps one day we will all be human again, together. ~ Shuna

I had a Greek friend whose mother wrote down of all her recipes for her children but would leave a key ingredient out so her children would never be able to make whatever it was as well as her. I've always thought it's one of the saddest stories I've ever heard b/c of course even if her children followed her recipe exactly with all ingredients listed it would never be like their mother's. Although I made kibbe with my grandfather several times it never quite tastes like his but I still think of him every time I make it.

The recipe I'll attempt to conquer yet once again is fatayer - Lebanese meat triangles in pita bread. I have the filling down pat but the bread around it is never like it should be (not too thick and seams stuck together) but I've been playing with bread more this year and I'm ready to remount a challenge.

I can't wait to see your results and thanks for a great post.

I had a super easy fudge recipe that I used one year, I perfected it, wrote down the ratios, and haven't been able to find it for 4 years. I want to remember or find it.

The smallest change in the simple ANZAC recipe can make them chewy or super crisp(like nut brittle). My favorite recipe has walnuts, dried apricots and sunflower seeds in it. Sometimes half dipped in chocolate. It's far from traditional, but after making so many cookies for so many years, I needed to play w/ the flavors. And they are a welcome surprise at cookie exchanges.

Great advice. I hadn't thought to approach food recipes as I approach glaze (clay) recipes. My brain just popped. Thanks.

This is so true. I have been loving your writing!!!!

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