A tinkerer’s damn

Posted by Anita on 09.11.06 1:01 PM

roasting chiles (c)2006 AECI never met a recipe I didn’t want to futz with. I suspect many people suffer from a similar affliction, but I had no idea how bad a case I had until yesterday.

I’m helping a friend test a recipe — which in turn is a mashup of two other recipes — for an article he’s writing, so I resolved to follow written directions to a T. Doesn’t seem so hard, does it? But it’s actually a lot more difficult than I’d imagined. No substiting homemade beans for canned? Damn. No leaving out ingredients that offend my purist sensibilities? Argh. And — because he specifically asked me to keep an eye out for missing steps and oversimplifications — no turning to the original recipes for clarifications on ingredients or descriptions. I think my brain might explode. At least the recipe allowed for roasting peppers on the grill, offering the standard broiler method as an alternate. Woo-hoo!

Are you a tinkerer, too?




Comment by erin

I tinker more and more as I get more comfortable as a cook and have a greater database of knowledge and experience to draw upon. I hate to do dishes, so I especially tinker with measurements–instead of using a gazillion spoons/cups, I just guesstimate.

Posted on 09.11.06 at 1:06PM

Comment by themirthmobile

i CANNOT follow a recipe exactly as written. it just never happens (the only exception is baking, but i rarely bake). i usually consult at least three sources/recipes for the dish i’m making and then make adjustments to my taste and the ingredients i have at hand. i think all the experimentation is the fun part.

Posted on 09.11.06 at 2:16PM

Comment by veuveclicquot

Recipe Tinkerers Anonymous is on the way! My name is VeuveClicquot and I can’t help myself from changing “a little bit of this” into “a little bit of that” in recipes… Sigh. Where do recipe testers get such discipline?!

Posted on 09.11.06 at 2:51PM

Comment by Matthew

I have no sympathy. I always follow recipes to the letter, because that’s the law.

Just kidding. I’m the friend who is making Anita test the recipe. Apparently I’m going to get an earful!

Posted on 09.12.06 at 7:16AM

Comment by Anita

>Apparently I’m going to get an earful!

No, you’re not — I’ve only found 2 little things so far that merit comment. Well, other than the presence of cornstarch in a Mexican sauce, but I have to suspect that’s the handiwork of Chris Kimball’s minions. :D And if it ends up working, who am I to be Mexicaner-than-thou?

Seriously, it’s working very well so far. I’ve made all the components of the last couple of days, and tonight we’re putting them all together.

Posted on 09.12.06 at 7:39AM

Comment by Rocky

I have the hardest time following recipes too, unless it’s for the once a decade I bake something.

Posted on 09.12.06 at 4:28PM

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