Sunday, July 17, 2016

Cooking by rule of thumb!

As a young cook I was taught by a bunch of older chefs. They didn't believe in recipes. They taught me that all food was different. Whether it be the soil of the earth they grew in, or the season of the year, that specific food changed constantly. I was taught that by tasting, touching, and they way food looked during cooking was the best way to tell if a dish was perfectly cooked. It seems those days have come and gone. Chefs today rely on recipes as a way of keeping consistency and ensuring a common taste for the food they make for diners. I have to say that a lot of the intuitive nature of cooking is lost. I'm here to bring that way of thought back from the death of modern scientific recipes, and lack of ability to taste. The mission is to get people to "feel" the food for flavor, and use their senses to determine the perfect flavor.

Consistency wasn't an issue when I was in restaurants using this method, and it shouldn't be a problem now. Think about how your grandma cooked. Most likely she used the rule of thumb method. She just knew how it was suppose to look and feel, and taste. I love the imagination of some of their dishes. They lived off of the land, at least a lot of them did, and knew that a tomato in July was not the same as one in August. The rain had fallen in between those times, and nutrients had changed in the soil. Salt content was different, and so forth. My recipes will be a guideline.

There are some things that will usually always work. Like a classic vinegar and oil dressing. It needs acid, oil and sugar for balance. Salt and pepper are used as a flavor enhancer, and a million other things can be used to finish the dressing to bring it to the point you want. Dijon mustard, fresh herbs, and purees of vegetables could be added to chance the flavor and viscosity of the dressing. The combinations are endless. One thing remains true. It starts with acid and oil. That is the common denominator.